The Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, on Tuesday freed 51 inmates at the Agodi Prisons in Ibadan.
The inmates, who were awaiting trial, were chosen out of the 205 considered.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that inmates released included some under-aged persons, those charged with minor offences or spent more than the number of years stipulated for the offences allegedly committed and those with health challenges.
NAN also reports that among those released were three girls, 10 teenagers aged between 14 and 17 years and an 86-year-old man.
Speaking during the exercise, Abimbola said that the monitoring committee on Criminal Justice Law were not in the prison to arbitrarily release inmates who were awaiting trial.
He said the body had a duty to ensure that criminals were not let loose on the society in the task of protecting the rights of the defendants and the victims.
He said: “A total of 1,041 inmates are awaiting trial in Agodi prisons and no doubt the prison is congested and it is our responsibility to decongest the prison.
“There is timeline in prosecution of criminal cases and Administration of Criminal Justice Law stipulates that the trial of the defendant must commence within 30 days of arraignment and completed within 180 days.
“The responsibility of the committee is to ensure that criminal matters are speedily dealt with to decongest the prisons and the courts.”
Earlier, the Controller of Prisons in Oyo State, Akinrujomu Tosin, said that the command was relieved that the chief judge was in the prison to exercise his constitutional duty.
Tosin said that the Agodi Prison in Ibadan has the capacity to accommodate 390 inmates although it currently has 1,226 inmates.
The controller, who expressed displeasure on the issue of under-aged persons being remanded in the prison, said his command was doing its best to ensure there was no epidemic or break down of law and order in the facility.