For certain prisoners in Kwara state, the year is set to end on a high note. Rather than spend the festive season behind bars, they will walk as free men.

Chief Judge of Kwara State, Justice Suleiman Kawu, has granted pardon to 16 convicted prisoners and awaiting trial inmates of Oke Kura and Mandala prisons in Ilorin.

The CJ granted the pardon after reviewing their cases during a visit to the prisons on Thursday.

Justice Kawu said that the exercise was carried out on the request of the Federal Government through the State Government to effect prison decongestion in the country.

The chief judge, however, added that the exercise was not aimed to short circuit court trial.

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He added that the inmates were granted freedom either for unlawful arrest and detention, or civil cases that required no detention.

The CJ said the implement of arrest of some of the inmates were not available, while facts supplied for arrested three juvenile that were detained for allegedly belonging to a group of armed robbers did not support the fact.

The Oke Kura prisons with 121 capacity has a total of 425 inmates, while Mandala prisons has capacity for 160 but houses 239 inmates.

The CJ said that he would pay regular visit to the prisons in order to decongest them.

Also speaking, the officer in charge of Ilorin Prison, DCP Adeyinka Adebayo, said that facilities in the prisons were overstretched.

He added that overpopulation of the prison inmates had resulted in spread of different kinds of diseases like scabies, eczema, skin rashes etc.

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