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Lagos’ll partner FG, Judiciary to decongest prisons ― Sanwo-Olu

LAGOS State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday gave a pledge, saying that the Executive will work with the State Judiciary and the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to prison congestion, pointing out that the issue had become a major challenge to the State’s Justice System.

Governor Sanwo-Olu gave the pledge shortly after swearing in the new acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Honourable Justice Kazeem Alogba, saying the current situation where over 70 per cent of inmates in the state prisons constitute awaiting trials was not acceptable.

According to him, it is not a reflection of an efficient justice delivery system, saying Lagos would not hesitate to do whatever was required to sustain the ongoing reform in the judicial sector so the desired result of ensuring that the wheel of justice rolls as fast as it could, would be achieved.

“The current situation where over 70 per cent of inmates in our prisons constitute awaiting trials is not acceptable as it is not a reflection of an efficient justice delivery system.

“We will also not hesitate to do whatever is required to sustain the ongoing reform in the judicial sector so the desired result of ensuring that the wheel of justice rolls as fast as it could, will be achieved,” the governor said.

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He further stated that his administration would embark on the review of the State’s Judiciary, noting that the three arms of government must form a synergy for the development of the State, even as promised to continue with judicial reforms in the state.

“We are all partners in progress. We must continue to work together to deliver the good for the teeming Lagos populace. This is what governance is all about,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, while congratulating the new acting Chief Judge, expressed confidence in his capacity to continue on the path of progress that had been created in the State Judiciary since the beginning of the Fourth Republic.

“I have absolute confidence in your ability and capacity to sustain and improve on the enviable reputation which the Lagos State Judiciary has built for itself over the years, particularly since 1999 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. During the tenure of that administration, a solid foundation was laid through the introduction and implementation of critical reforms and initiatives that are aimed at building a judicial system that is efficient, reliable and courageous to uphold the fundamental principles and ideals of equity, fairness, natural justice and the rule of law,” the governor said.

In his vote of assurance, Justice Alogba thanked Governor Sanwo-Olu for the honour, promising to exercise the powers of his office conscientiously for the good of the common man and the furtherance of the administration of justice in Lagos.

The new Acting Chief Judge suggested that traffic and environmental offenders should henceforth serve their sentences at the point where the offences were committed, contending that no one liked to wear a toga of an ex-convict.

According to her, community service or some other forms of punishment should be handed to offenders at the point of contravention.

Alogba also promised speedy and effective dispensation of justice, zero tolerance for corruption and corrupt tendencies, rigorous, adequate and continuous training of judicial staff as well as improvement on the use of ICT for the delivery of justice.

“We will pursue the use of information communication technology and dwell on staff welfare. We pledge our support for the new administration,” she said.

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