Abeokuta - No fewer than 1,660 inmates out of the 2 016 inmates in prisons in Ogun are currently awaiting trial for various offences, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Mr Victor Oyeleke, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ogun Command of the Nigeria Prisons Service (NPS), gave the figure in an interview with NAN in Abeokuta on Monday.
Oyeleke said that the awaiting trial inmates spread across the five prisons in the command’s control, adding that 31 of them were females.
He said that the old Abeokuta prison housed 830 inmates, the new Abeokuta Prison had 451 inmates, the Ijebu-Ode Prison had 320, while Shagamu Prison had 176, and the Ilaro Prison had 239 inmates.
The PRO said that 46 inmates, who had paid the fine options of their punishment or served their jail terms were released by either the state governor or Chief Judge between January and July.
"Apart from those released by either the governor of the Chief Judge, the Court of Appeal had also ordered the release of some inmates during the period.
"Other are still awaiting conclusion of their trial and so they still have to remain in prison custody until the court pronounced otherwise,'' he said.
Oyeleke further disclosed that 126 inmates had been sentenced to death by hanging and 45 others had bagged life imprisonment for offences ranging from treason to murder, among others.
On the allegations that prison officials extorted money before taking inmates to court, Oyeleke said that it was absolutely impossible for the story to be true.
He said that the Prisons headquarters provided the command with all that it needed to work with and took good care of the inmates.
"We have vehicles that take them to court and bring them back, as at when due, we also have clinics that look after the sick ones among them.
"No prison official will ever extort money from prisoners for any reasons whatsoever," Oyeleke said.
Also speaking, the command’s Controller, Mr Adams Babatunde-Lawal, said that the command had a good working relationship with inmates across the prisons.
He said, "The Federal Government, through the prison headquarters, sends money for everything, including the feeding of inmates during their entire stay here.
"My men are disciplined and carry out their different assignments with total dedication and according to the laws of the land."