I am delighted to welcome you all to this brief ceremony in which three exceptional legal professionals, who have distinguished themselves and have therefore been found worthy of being elevated as Judges of the High Court of Lagos State.
My warm congratulations to:
Hon. Justice ABIOLA OLADUNNI SOLADOYE;
Hon. Justice YETUNDE RUKAYAT PINHEIRO; and
Hon. Justice OLUKAYODE OLA OGUNJOBI.
The appointment of suitable persons to the office of Judge of the High Court is always an intense and painstaking process. This is even more important in the case of Lagos which prides itself as the Centre of Excellence. The process involves a rigorous selection and screening exercise consequent upon the advice of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission and recommendation by the National Judicial Council.
Today’s ceremony is a testimony to the industry, consistently high standards and professionalism of the three new Judges of the High Court of Lagos State, having scaled all the hurdles set by the appointing bodies and declared as fit and proper persons to be on the revered higher bench of the ever-busy Lagos State judiciary.
As is commonly said, the Judiciary is regarded as the last hope of the common man and is the instrument of social equilibrium in any constitutional democracy; it is the bridge between conflict and order; the thread of hope to the hopeless and ultimate arbiter of competing claims. Beyond the new robes, title and distinction that attaches to the office, Judges of the High Court play a critical role in achieving the objectives of this very important arm of government.
Our State Judiciary has made advances in its progression to a modern and effective arm of government. In order to facilitate speedy dispensation of justice, we have been consistent in creating innovative ways of responding to the challenges of our days. We recently created the first-ever Special and Sexual Offences courts and the first-ever Small Claims Courts in Nigeria.
In order to address the challenges of a growing population and the attendant increase in commercial transaction and disputes, we have sent a bill to the State House of Assembly seeking to amend the High Court Law to fix the number of Judges in the State High Courts at 120 from the present 59. We expect this to be favourably considered and passed soon.
These are some of the new innovations that are further aimed to position the State Judiciary to meet the challenges of dispensing justice quickly and speedily as justice delayed is justice denied.
I would like to admonish our newly sworn-in judges to be fearless in the discharge of their duties and to always allow professional ethics to govern their acts and utterances within and outside the court.
This will be the expectation of not only your colleagues, but of every Lagosian whose expectations are that you must determine and dispatch justice with independence and impartiality. The citizenry will also expect you to dispense justice without fear, favour, affection or ill will, as your oath guides you to do.
The oath you have just taken is neither an empty ritual nor a matter of mere formal procedure. It is an open demonstration of commitment in the form of the making of a solemn and formal promise, the dereliction of which the oath taker will be held accountable; not only to the judiciary, and to our beloved State and country Nigeria but also to your creator.
The oath is a commitment of loyalty and service to the people of Lagos State which has its roots in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Finally, I would like to commend the Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State, Honourable Justice Opeyemi Oke, on her inspirational leadership and commitment to fighting indolence in the judiciary in the short time she has assumed office. We urge you not to relent on your commitment as we pledge the cooperation and support of the Executive arm of Government.
Once again, I congratulate our new Judges on their appointments and extend same to your families, colleagues, associates and well-wishers.
I thank you all for your attention.
Itsewaju ipinle Eko lo je wa logun