Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola , SAN on Thursday presided at the swearing in of three new High Court Judges into the State Judiciary, urging them to continue to do their best to do justice according to the law.
The Governor, who spoke at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium Alausa, reiterated that as the world is changing there is the need for them to expose themselves to training locally, internationally and by personal self development.
“The world is changing every day, all forms of contacts that we were used to have evolved, new trends are emerging across the whole world too in terms of law and order and security. Your knowledge about this development will put you in very good stead to be able to deal with those circumstances as may become presented before you”, he stressed.
The newly sworn Judges are Hon. Justice Adedayo Adeola Akintoye, Hon Justice Olabisi Ogungbesan and Justice Obafemi Abdul Afis Adamson.
He added that there is the need for the new judges to develop themselves and their quest and that their thirst for knowledge must be unending because they can only apply the law to facts that they understand as facts will be presented before them and if they do not understand them, their application of the law will sometimes be difficult.
“Your contributions to the sustenance of law and order in any society cannot be really overemphasized. It is the primary contributions that help to weld the conflicting segment of society together and without law and order nothing really can take place in terms of meaningful development”.
“So whether you appreciate it or not you are actually very serious contributors to the development of prosperity in any economy if you help to uphold law and order”, he added”, he reiterated.
The Governor added that while it might be strange to those who do not practice the profession of law but for those who practice it, there is a possibility of sometimes getting it wrong but there are appellate systems for correcting that process.
He stated that the imperfections of democracy as a man made idea and its very salutary principles about separation of powers are challenged by the appointment of the three new Judges because they hitherto belong to the Executive arm.
“So if we were truly Independent and not Interdependent, the Chief Judge would not have them, but this is the way it is, they have worked with me in the Executive arm of government and they have done so very well and I am sure that their colleagues who they will be joining and the Chief Judge will be extremely delighted to work with this two ladies and gentleman “, he said.
While congratulating the members of the family of the new Judges and their friends, the Governor advised the relatives that just as the judges would continue to have their filial relationships, they are now also public properties.
“So there will be places that they cannot go anymore, it does not mean that they do not like family, there will also be things that they cannot now do anymore and they will know those things and if they explain to you please understand, the public has taken over”, he added.
The Governor explained it was important to make the point because one of the things that the new Judges have done before the gathering was to swear to an oath of secrecy that they will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal any matter to any person which shall be brought directly under their considerations or shall come to their knowledge in the discharge of their official duties except as may be required for the discharge of their official duties or as may be permitted by the Government.
He expressed the hope that the families and relatives would understand the very onerous duty they have assumed, noting that whether they get it right or wrong, will have consequences on the lives of people, on the lives of Nation and sometimes on the Continent.
The Governor used the occasion to wish a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the State, Professor Yemi Oshibajo SAN, who was on Wednesday named the running mate of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, the very best in his journey into the political field, adding that all those who have worked with him are very proud to hold aloft the bright torch that he lit.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN said Lagos State government recognizes justice administration as a pillar of the society and the government is committed to improving her people’s access to justice.
He added that the newly sworn in judges have distinguished themselves with hard work, dedication to duty, honesty and integrity and is a practical demonstration and the vision of the Ministry of Justice.
In her own remarks, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade said the new appointments arose out of the need to fill the existing vacancies in the High Court of Lagos State.
She added that it also became necessary while taking into cognizance the peculiarity of Lagos State, its population and huge economic size at present which also reflected in the volume of litigation in cases filed on daily basis in the various registries across the State which led to the need for additional competent hands to serve in this capacity.
She called for the appointment of more Judges into the Bench in the State saying with the present appointment, the number of Judges in Lagos State is now 57 made up of 41 women and 16 men.
She urged the new Judges to live above board and to always conduct themselves within the ethics of the profession adding that they should be loyal, upright, shun every act of corruption and all temptation that tends toward corrupt practices.
While introducing the new three Judges, the Honourable Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, noted that the State Judicial Service Commission, serving Judges, members of the Nigeria Bar Association and all other stakeholders that had a role in the process have all scrutinized the Judges designates and unanimously found them worthy before presenting them to the National Judicial Council(NJC).
“It also afford us the opportunity to bring to the bench a wealth of experience, scholarship, selfless service and rigorous work ethics, which I am sure will further boost the image and efficiency of our Judiciary” he added.
Responding on behalf of the new Judges, Justice Adedayo Akintoye thanked the State Government for the confidence reposed in them, promising that they would endeavour to make people proud of them as they commence the tasks ahead of them.
Prominent among those who witnessed the event were former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General Mr. Supo Shasore SAN, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Mr Fola Adeola, former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, Body of Permanent Secretary, Royal fathers, family members and friends of the new Judges.