The Lagos State Government has reaffirmed its commitment to providing free legal representations to awaiting trial inmates, especially inmates who take advantage of its plea bargain system aimed at ensuring a quicker release from custody than a full trial.
Director of Citizen’s Rights, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Odusanya gave the assurance last Tuesday during the agency’s quarterly visitation to Ikoyi, Kirikiri and Badagry correctional centres in the State.
Odusanya, represented by the duo of Assistant Director, Mrs. Yetunde Alonwole and Chief State Counsel, Mrs. Adewunmi Odunaiya at the centres, stated that the Directorate of Citizens (DCR), in conjunction with the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) and Community Service Unit (CSU), would ensure that awaiting trial inmates have accessed free legal representations.
She noted that the quarterly visitations to the three correctional centres as approved by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, is geared towards free access to justice irrespective of gender, faith or social status.
In her address which focused on sensitising the inmates on free legal services, she explained that the Ministry of Justice is manned by competent lawyers and scores of administrative and support staff who are adequately skilled to provide on-spot advice to awaiting trial inmates.
She urged them to take advantage of the benefits given by the state government in accessing justice irrespective of their status.
Odusanya averred that the Lagos State Government was determined to decongest the correctional centres due to the high percentage of incarcerated individuals who were yet to be convicted through the prison watch services of the directorate.
“The Directorates also conducts prison watch services to ensure that inmates are kept under humane conditions and their fundamental human rights are not violated, especially awaiting trial inmates that are presumed innocent until convicted by a law court” Odusanya added.
Also speaking, the Assistant Controller in-Charge of Ikoyi Corrections (ACC) Dare Opadeji expressed gratitude on behalf of the inmates to the Lagos State Government, Attorney-General and the Directorate of Citizen’s Rights, Ministry of Justice, saying that the periodic visits gave hope of freedom especially to inmates on the awaiting trial register.
The Controller also appealed to the Lagos State Government to intervene urgently and provide legal representations to inmates who were charged with minor crimes but were in confinement due to their inability to afford legal representations during their various hearings in court.
Items distributed to the inmates included antiseptic disinfectants, air fresheners, insecticides, toothbrushes, slippers, hand sanitisers, shaving sticks, sanitary towels, detergents, brooms and other sanitary materials.Follow us on social media