COVID-19 shouldn’t slow down justice system, Sanwo-Olu charges judicial officers

• Lagos appoints eight High Court judges

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday stated that members of the judicial arm of government have a duty to keep the wheel of justice administration turning in this period of COVID-19 pandemic by fully acquainting themselves with the new culture of justice dispensation being driven by technology.

Sanwo-Olu gave this charge to the eight newly-appointed judges of the High Court of Lagos as they took an oath before him and members of the state’s cabinet at the statehouse, Alausa, Ikeja.

They are Justice Dorcas Olatokun, Justice Yahqub Oshoala, Justice Omotola Oguntade, Justice Olufunke Sule-Amzat, Justice Rasul Olukolu, Justice Sharafa Olaitan, Justice Ezekiel Ashade and Justice Adeniyi Pokanu.

Sanwo-Olu said the continuity of judicial services in the period of public health emergency remained vital to boosting people’s confidence in the administration of justice system and to ensure adequate enforcement of regulations initiated to stop the spread of the pandemic.

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“This chamber we are holding the swearing-in has just been opened for the first time in the last two months. This is the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has evolved new culture in our interactions at homes and offices.

“In this period of a public health emergency, we need the judiciary to keep the wheel of the justice system moving. The administration of justice system must not be halted because of the health crisis. Our judicial should fully adapt to the evolving culture and be at the services of those who seek redress and justice at the court.

“I have no doubt that the Lagos State Judiciary, under the leadership of Mr Lord Justice Kazeem Alogba, will be an arm of government that we can continue to rely on as a partner in boosting people’s confidence in government and justice system,” the Sanwo-Olu said.

Sanwo-Olu, while noting that the judges earned their nominations and appointments to the High Court of the state based on their sterling credentials and experience in the respective areas of engagement, equally charged the judges to dispense justice without fear or favour, urging them not to soil their hard-earned reputation and family names in the course of discharging their duties.

“Having gone through your resumes, I know you have all distinguished yourselves in the legal profession and we expect you are bringing your years of experience and service. We are convinced this journey would raise the standards of our judicial service.

“I congratulate our newly sworn-in Honorable Justices and we believe you all have what it takes to be fair and equitable in the dispensation of justice to our citizens. By being sworn in as judges, you have brought honour to your family names. However, you must ensure that your names are not tarnished in the course of discharging your duty,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Sanwo-Olu also thanked the National Judicial Council (NJC) for the painstaking vetting of the appointed judges’ credentials, saying that he was convinced that the quality and calibre of the new judges would improve the judicial process in the state.

Sanwo-Olu re-emphasised his commitment to ridding the state of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, assuring that the state government would continue to collaborate with stakeholders on the frontline and coordinate response strategy to battle the virus.

He also promised to maintain transparency in communicating the response activities to the public.

Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, described the event as “special occasion” in the evolution of judiciary in the state, assuring that the quality of credentials of the appointed judges, would be brought to bear in fast-tracking administration of justice system.

Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, disclosed that the process of nomination of the judges was transparent and extended to different areas of the legal profession, including public service, private sector and the magistracy.

“The transparency in the selection process of the new judges has deepened our trust in the leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu. The appointment of these eight judges, having passed through the rigorous competence assessment and selection process, will strengthen the capacity of the Lagos Judiciary which in turn will translate to improved service delivery in the justice sector,” she said.

Speaking on behalf of the appointed judges, Hon. Justice Dorcas Olatokun appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for finding them worthy of the appointment, describing it as a “unique privilege” to contribute their quota in deepening justice system, even as she pledged to be upright and fearless in the discharge of the duty.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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