Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday said the state judiciary had been a beacon of hope and promise for Nigeria as a whole, citing its reputation for intellectual judicial pronouncements that have stood the test of time at the different Courts of Appeal.
Ambode also said he would inaugurate the state DNA & Forensic Centre (LSD&FC) tomorrow, noting that his administration established the forensic centre, the first of its kind in the country, to expedite the process of justice dispensation and administration in the state.
He made the remarks yesterday after swearing in the acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, at the State House, Alausa, noting that his administration would improve the welfare of judicial officers and increase the number of judges to dispense justice.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, and the immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade.
He explained his decision to swear in the acting chief judge, noting that the swearing-in “is in line with judicial precedence and the long-aged tradition of succession by seniority on the bench.”
While awaiting the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Ambode noted that it was expedient “to perform this administration of oath of office without delay to avoid a vacuum in the leadership of the state judiciary.”
He explained that the Lagos State Judiciary “has been a beacon of promise for Nigeria as a whole given its reputation for intellectual judicial pronouncements that have stood the test of time at our appellate courts.”
“I am confident that as you take up the leadership of the Judiciary today, though in an acting capacity, your Lordship will discharge the duties of this office with exemplary wisdom, candour and integrity.”
He observed that the judiciary “is an independent arm of government,” though noted that the success of every government “lies in our collaboration and inter-dependence which must be actualised without inhibiting the independent discharge of our functions.”
According to her, I am certain you will find us in the executive arm and those in the legislative arm as willing partners given our commitment over the years to the rule of law and safety of lives and properties for the people of Lagos State.
The governor added that his administration would continue “to improve the welfare of judicial officers and increase the number of Judges to dispense Justice adequately and effectively.”
He disclosed that he would inaugurate the first DNA Forensic Centre in Nigeria, noting that the forensic centre was established to improve the quality of evidence gathered by the security agencies especially the police and achieving a more scientific-led investigation, which invariably increases the confidence of the courts in arriving at a just conclusion of cases.