Head of Otumara community, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has commended Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu for signing into law the proposed 21-year term for convicted cultists in the State.
Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa led Lagos State House of Assembly had passed the anti-cultism bill in February which proposed 15-year jail term for anyone found guilty of aiding cultists and landlords who allow their properties to be used as host venue by cultists.
While commending Sanwo-Olu for signing the bill into law, Kalejaiye advised the governor to deploy inmates to work on the farm to boost agriculture in the State.
He also tasked the governor on the need to decongest correctional facilities across the State and put policies that would ensure that inmates and cultists are productively engaged are put in place while serving their terms.
He said, “The purpose of punishment is to reform and rehabilitate inmates but I have observed that after going through correctional facilities, inmates become more hardened than they were. So while I welcome the decision to sentence cultists and their helpers to 21-year imprisonment, I want to implore the government to come up with policies that would ensure that they are productively engaged and useful to the State while serving their terms at the correctional centres.
For instance, inmates can be used to boost agriculture. They can also be taken through vocational and skill acquisition trainings that will prepare them for future challenges. If inmates are seconded to work on the government rice farm, the problem of scarcity and hike in prices of food stuff will be addressed and the stipend they will get for working on the farm will go a long way to adding value to their lives.
Also the government needs to decongest correctional facilities across the State. As inmates are lumped up in the facilities all days without getting them involved in something meaningful, they end up getting worse than they were before being convicted.
Rather than idling around the facility, I will suggest they be taken to work on the farm to boost food production in the State.
As we know, Lagos has a peculiar status. It’s the economic hub of the country therefore any omission will adversely affect the State. Cultism and unlawful assemblage have been a recurring decimal in the State but we should also be careful in handling suspects because they might end up being worse off if their case is not properly and carefully handled.
Therefore while committed to ridding the State off cultists and cultism-related activities, I am appealing to Governor Sanwo-Olu to parley with the management of correctional facilities in the State to discuss ways by which inmates can be made to work on the farm while also earning some stipends for their efforts so that they do not become a burden to the state.”