Fashola Boosts Capacity Of Lagos Judiciary


In a bid to increase the capacity of the Lagos State judiciary, Governor Babatunde Fashola  on Thursday appointed seven High Court judges making the number of judges in the State High  Court 56

Speaking at the ceremony held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa with serving and retired  judges, members of the inner bar and relations of the new appointees in attendance, Fashola  expressed confidence that the judicial system will continue to uphold the rights of the  people and ensure a healthy and fair balance between individual rights and the public  interest.

The governor described the occasion as another milestone in the journey to enhance the  quality of life of the people through credible and efficient administration of justice which  is also one of the great events of constitutional democracy.

He noted that the judiciary is the instrument of social equilibrium in any constitutional  democracy as it is also the bridge between conflict and order, the thread of hope to the  hopeless and the ultimate arbiter of competing claims.

The governor who disclosed that with the addition of the new judges, the number of judges in  the Lagos State judiciary is now 56, the highest nationwide, added that judges in Lagos are  always tasked by members of the bar because the most sophisticated legal practice in the  country takes place in Lagos State.

While advocating that the case for more judges for the Lagos bench can never be too strongly  made as the economy and the population continue to grow, Fashola said: “If we are not to  slide back to the days of court congestion, the capacity of judges per litigant must be  increased even as the state continues to pursue automation and technology to improve  efficiency”.

While quoting from the often cited dicta in R v. Sussex Justices Ex Parte McCarthy (1923)  All ER 233 which is cited with approval in several Nigerian Supreme Court judgments to the  effect that “…justice should be manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”, Fashola  explained that what this means is that justice must be recognised by the public as present  in the judgments of the courts. Such judgments, he said, must inspire public confidence and  meet with the wide and general endorsement of right thinking men and women and not merely  the whim or belief of one person.

He said one of the most daunting tasks confronting a judge in the exercise of judicial  powers is how to maintain a delicate balance between individual rights, either in the  context of civil or criminal matters, and public interest.

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The governor noted that one area where this task is more profound is in the area of private  property rights vis- a-vis the public interest manifested in infrastructure and urban  renewal projects.

“While our constitution recognises the superiority of public interest over private interests  and provide for a process of compulsory acquisition and compensation, the matter can become  more challenging. As in all cases, the ultimate test in my view should be what will bring  the greatest good or benefit to the greatest number of citizens,” he said.

While praying that God grant the new appointees the strength and courage to fulfill the  onerous demands of the judicial oath administered on them, Fashola added  that, “courage  does not mean the absence of fear; on the contrary, it means the ability to continue with  quiet dignity on the path of truth and rectitude, inspite of those fears”.

Speaking earlier while presenting the newly appointed judges, the Chief Judge of Lagos  State, Justice Inumidun Akande reminded them of the need to diligently commit their minds to  the spirit and letters of their oath of office.

She charged them to conduct themselves in a manner that will inspire public confidence and  erase the notion of partiality of any kind as people are watching. She also urged them to  strictly adhere to the code of conduct to sustain the independence of the judiciary.

“I enjoin you to shun every act of corruption and all temptations that tend towards corrupt  practices. The fear of God must always be at the centre of your activities, knowing full  well that God Almighty is the ultimate judge,” Akande added.

The newly appointed judges are Justice Mariam Olajumoke Emeya, Justice Ibironke Olatunbosun  Harrison, Justice Christopher Ayodeji Balogun, Justice Kafeel Omobolaji Dawodu, Justice  Latifat Atinuke Fadeke Oluyemi, Justice Latifat Abiola Morayo Folami and Justice Olubunmi  Olutoyin Femi-Adeniyi.

The ceremony was attended by members of the State Executive Council, members of the State  House of Assembly, Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Aremu Osuolale Akiolu I, Commissioner of Police  Mr Marvel Akpoyibo, the Convener of the Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare and many  other dignitaries from all walks of life.

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