Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has sworn in 14 newly appointed Judges of the High Court of Lagos State.
The ceremony took place at the State House in Ikeja on Friday, December 31, 2021.
The new benchers, consisting of nine females and five males, are; Justices Olubusola Adeyemi Okunuga, Adenrera Olayinka Adeyemi, Olufolake Olufolasade Oshin and Oluwatoyin Atinuke Odusanya, Olumuyiwa Oluseun Martins, Ariyike Mutiat Ipaye-Nwachukwu and Babatunde Oladapo Kalaro.
Others are Omolade Jadesola Awope, Akinkunmi Olusegun Idowu, Olalekan Ayodeji Oresanya, Mujibat Iyabode Oshodi, Ismail Olalekan Ijelu, Mosunmola Muyibat Balogun and Mathias Oluwole Dawodu.
Speaking during the swearing-in, Governor Sanwo-Olu said that the judicial arm of government is an essential element for the proper and effective functioning of any democratic society, noting that without the honest interpretation and application of the laws of the land, society would be open to chaos.
He said that his administration remains committed to supporting the judiciary to fully discharge its constitutional functions and responsibilities, adding that his government is greatly fortunate to be an inheritor of a great tradition of judicial reforms and excellence in Lagos State”, Sanwo – Olu said.
“The standards of behaviour and practice expected of Judges are among the highest and most stringent in the land. All eyes will be on you to dispense Justice speedily, yet fairly and impartially. You will be expected to live and act above board in all circumstances.
“In your hands lies great power: the power to punish wrongdoers and free the innocent, the power to send a strong message to society about the supremacy of the rule of law, and to contribute to the growing body of jurisprudence in the country.
“This power must be wielded with the utmost sense of care and responsibility. You must not only be efficient and fair but you must also be seen to be efficient and fair by all”, the governor advised.
While urging the Judges to be committed to their constitutional duties, Governor Sanwo-Olu said:
“Judges who take their work seriously can do a lot to rebuild the confidence of citizens in the systems and institutions of our nation. A properly functioning judicial system will also go a long way in nurturing an environment that enables business and investment, and by extension, economic growth and prosperity. When society prospers, there is less room for poverty to drive people to crime and criminality.”
He also said that his administration has commenced full digitalization of courts to ensure speedy administration of justice.
“We have now commenced the full digitisation of our Courts’ system in Lagos State. The first phase, comprising 10 Courtrooms, is nearing completion. This digitisation will help speed up court processes, enable the easy documentation and publication of accurate court transcripts, and also provide high-speed internet access for the use of Judges and other judicial personnel”, he said.
“Also, very importantly, we are deploying infrastructure to enable the virtual hearing of cases. This is one of the reforms which its necessity has been accelerated by the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. We are all witnesses to how the lock downs and restrictions occasioned by Covid-19 negatively impacted the administration of criminal justice.
“Technology has offered a way out, and we are enthusiastically embracing this option. With the infrastructure we are putting in place, Judges will be able to sit virtually, ensuring that there are no delays, while also helping manage the costs that traditionally went into ensuring that suspects are conveyed to and from Courts”.
Lagos State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), speaking earlier, said that the appointment of the new Judges was necessitated by the retirement of some Judges in the course of the year.
In his remarks, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Kazeem Alogba advised the new benchers whom he said were chosen based on merit to operate with the fear of God.
“You are welcome to the judiciary of excellence. It is a family of integrity and a family of discipline. You have all been called up to duty on merit and integrity, please, do not disappoint us”, the Chief Judge appealed to the new Judges.
Justice Alogba also advised the families of the new Judges to leave them to work and to continue to pray for them so that they would not falter.
Speaking on behalf of the new 14 Judges, Justice Olubusola Okunuga appreciated the State Government for the confidence reposed in them and promised that they would make Lagos State Judiciary proud by discharging their duty without fear, favour or affection.