Eighteen prison inmates serving life sentences at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison in Lagos have been granted state pardon after serving more than 30 years in incarceration.
The order for the release of the prisoners was delivered by the Lagos State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy to the Nigerian Prisons Service.
The 18 inmates, 15 males and 3 females serving life sentences for various offences were recommended for immediate release by the Council on compassionate grounds.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Chairman of the Council, Professor Oyelowo Oyewo, applauded the benevolence of the State Governor by assenting to exercise the prerogative in favour of the recommended inmates.
Professor Oyewo told the pardoned inmates not to jeopardize the once in a lifetime opportunity enjoining them to turn a new leaf as they move into the larger society.
“Having fulfilled very stringent conditions for your freedom, you must steer clear of every temptation that could make you become repeat offenders,” he stressed.
The State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem encouraged other inmates still serving in the prison to be of good behaviour and exhibit conducts that could qualify them for state pardon.
Mr Kazeem advised the inmates to improve themselves, as the applications of other inmates eligible for state pardon were still under consideration.
The freed inmates were full of appreciation to the Governor for the gesture which they described as opportunity of a second chance to live purposeful lives.
The jubilant inmates also pledged to be of good behaviour, and to be law abiding citizens as they return to the larger society.
The State Controller of Prisons Mr Olatunbosun Ladipo commended Lagos State for its efforts at ensuring the wellbeing of inmates through regular assistance.