Remarks Of His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At The 2018 Legal Year Ceremony

Remarks Of His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode At The 2018 Legal Year Ceremony

Let me begin by thanking Almighty God for sparing our lives to witness yet another opening of the New Legal year. I congratulate the Lagos State Judiciary under the leadership of My lord, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke, Chief Judge of Lagos State for the success, hardwork, dedication, and co-operation in the past few years.

 

One can safely assume from the radiant looks of My Lords and Your Honours that you have all had restful holidays and are well energised for the year ahead.

 

As you begin another Judicial Year, I assure you of our continued support and partnership. Our Administration recognises the separate but interwoven roles of the three arms of government and part of our own commitment to a lawful and orderly society is to respect the limits of those constitutionally defined roles. This we have always done.

 

One of the cardinal policies of our government has been the enthronement of law and order. Today, I stand a happy man knowing we delivered on those promises.

 

The increased workload and number of cases in our courts necessitated the appointment of more Judges and Magistrates as well as the construction of more court houses and renovation of existing courts to befit our judiciary. This had to be complemented by the improved welfare of our Judges and Magistrates.

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The introduction of the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre further enhanced the quality of justice delivery in the State and we have also developed policies and legislations that will aid speedy dispensation of justice.

 

As our State remains the cynosure of excellence and the economic hub of Africa, our judiciary must continue to be in the forefront of judicial reforms to meet the expectation of the modern day justice sector. My Lords, we bear the responsibility of 24 million people who look up to you and I to protect them with the law. Our justice system must remain sound, fair and effective.

 

The plague of delay in justice delivery is still of major concern. All stakeholders in the sector must ensure that the issue of delay is tackled vigorously by creating innovative models for achieving speedy and efficient justice delivery system which can be replicated more broadly across the country.

 

The expectations of the citizenry is huge and requires all stakeholders to work continuously to enhance confidence in the legal system, promote the rule of law, guarantee protection of lives and properties.

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Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, let me use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the Clergy, our Fathers in the Lord and our Royal Fathers, for their prayers and guidance. I once again thank the judiciary for their partnership, co-operation and support, through which tremendous progress has been made in the State.

 

My lord the Chief Judge, my lords the honorable judges of the High Court of Lagos State and other judges here present, the Magistracy, members of the inner and outer bar, ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate you all on the successful commencement of the new legal year and I wish you fruitful celebrations.

 

Itesiwaju Ipinle eko, lo je wa logun

 

Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

Lagos Goes Tough On Drug Abuse, Plans 1000-Man Walk Against Scourge

…Women Strategically Positioned To Stop Teenage Rape, Pregnancy

In a bid to step up its campaign against all forms of drug abuse, the Lagos State Government on Tuesday said it has concluded plans to stage a 1000-man walk against the scourge and raise awareness on its inherent danger especially among youths.

Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri who disclosed this while addressing journalists at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Ikeja, ahead of the launch of a rigorous and renewed campaign under the acronym, Lagos State Kicks against Drug Abuse (LASKADA), said the Government was leaving no stone unturned in its effort to dissuade youths who are prime victims of the practice.

According to the Commissioner, the campaign will adopt a tripod approach including events, engagements with stakeholders and awareness campaign, adding that it would be flagged off by a 1000 man symbolic walk against drug abuse in the State.

He said the walk, which will hold on Thursday, June 21, would commence from Ikeja Bus Stop- under the bridge and would terminate at the Blue Roof, LTV, Agidingbi, where the official launch of LASKADA would take place.

He said participants at the walk will include students, members of voluntary organizations, sports men and women, members of Nongovernmental organisations, local government and youth representatives, local youth council representatives, faith based organisations, government functionaries, among others.

“What we want to do on Thursday is to launch this campaign and show that we are ready for war against all forms of drug abuse. Once we launch out, we are going to have series of activities on various platforms and we will employ every avenue to ensure that the campaign gets to the nook and cranny in the State,” he said.

Dabiri added that the campaign will also involve a stakeholders’ sensitization session to deliberate on the menace and proffer likely intervention to tackle the issue holistically.

“The stakeholders will include parents, youths, professional bodies include Pharmacists, NDLEA, psychiatrists, traditional medicine board, patent medicine sellers, NURTW, Tricycle and okada riders unions and a communiqué will be issued at the end of the session.

He said the campaign train will also move to primary, secondary and higher institutions as well as to the communities adding that it would be implemented in collaboration with the Lagos State Youth Ambassadors, Lagos State Youth Parliament and NGOs in their immediate community.

Besides, the Commissioner said that mosque, churches and faith based organization will be implored to dedicate a day to enlighten worshippers on drug abuse and canvass support for the fight against the menace.

“The youth group is the largest population in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State and this segment is considered the most vulnerable group as far as drug and alcohol issues are concerned. Thus, their health and optimal development is critical to national development agenda and deserves significant attention. Drug abuse is real and we should not fold our arms and watch the scourge continue, partner with us and lets all say “No to Drug Abuse”, Dabiri said.

In a related development, Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode said women must use their strategic position as builders of the home-front to adequately fortify their children and wards with right virtuous to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in the society.

Speaking at a special Lagos Women Forum put together by her office held at Police College in Ikeja, the wife of the Governor said as coordinators of the family unit, women have the responsibility to bring up their children in most decent ways and be good examples to them.

According to her, “We as women have a great role to play in combating the social evils of rape and teenage pregnancy. Our natural role as mothers and coordinators of the family unit, imposes responsibilities on us, to bring up the boy and the girl child in the most decent way, to stem the tide of rape and teenage pregnancy in our society.”

She said young girls who suffer abuse and become pregnant stand the risk of medical complications, stressing however that conscious effort must be made in their upbringing to achieve the desired results including early enrolment in school, sound moral lessons and exposure to the ways and things of God.

Besides, Mrs Ambode expressed concern over the disturbing trend of domestic violence against women which sometimes result in deaths, saying it was time for women to come together and jointly speak out against the menace.

“By publicly speaking out against domestic violence, together we can challenge attitudes that breed violence in the homes and everywhere. We must insist that domestic violence is a social crimes and not acceptable in our society. That is why we have brought seasoned speakers, to talk to us on issues of social menace, and our expected roles as mothers and home builders.

In her keynote address, Lagos State Deputy Governor, Mrs Idiat Adebule commended the wife of the Governor for the initiative to gather women together for the purpose of enhancing their welfare and health, saying the strategic importance of women in the society could not be overemphasized.

She said women should no longer be stereotyped into silence but rather become vocal advocates for improved health delivery system and social justice, adding that the womenfolk also have the responsibility of investing and increasing access of more girls and women to good health, quality education, and as well ensuring that laws respect and ensure the rights of women are enforced.

The Deputy Governor, who is also overseeing the Ministry of Education, said as part of efforts to protect the future of girls who are abused, the State Government recently established a special school for people in such category to have another opportunity to be educated.

“We have equally established the alternative school for the girls who, in the course of their lifetime, get pregnant and could not continue their education. Our government has provided that particular school for them to have a second chance in life,” Adebule said.

Say No To Female Genital Mutilation

Say No To Female Genital Mutilation

…We Can Stamp Out FGM By 2030

Wife of the governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has expressed optimism that Female Genital Mutilation could be stamped out of Africa by 2030, if all individual and institutional stakeholders worked together towards achieving that purpose.

She said this at Alausa, Ikeja, in comments to reporters, on the occasion of this year’s International Day of zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.

Mrs. Ambode noted that, although the practice was well entrenched in the continent, with some countries recording up to ninety per cent prevalence among girls and women, the situation was not hopeless if the current advocacy was sustained or increased.

According to her, ‘The pace of penetration of awareness seems slow because the practice is an ancient one, deeply rooted in our various cultures but that does not make our efforts fruitless. Though progress may be slow, we are going somewhere as rural women, mothers and young girls, are becoming aware of the severe health implications of the barbaric practice’.

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‘Few years ago, many women, even some educated ones, saw it as a normal and socially acceptable practice but the story is fast changing, as awareness is getting mileage and rural women are now campaigning against it’, she declared.

The governor’s wife implored governments to fight the practice with direct legislations, in the manner they are doing with some wicked anti-female practices.

She reminded everyone that FGM constituted an extreme form of discrimination against women and girls, directly violating their rights to health, security and physical integrity, wondering why women should be subjected to such life-threatening dehumanization.

She contended that mothers, fathers and NGOs, must continue to voice their concern and governments must put in place the right statutes, for total eradication of the practice in our country and the continent by 2030.

February 6 every year, was set aside by the United Nations, as the International Day of zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation across the world.

 

Tough Time Awaits Offenders of Sexual, Economic Crimes

Tough Time Awaits Offenders of Sexual, Economic Crimes

…Commissions Special Courts For Quick Dispensation of Justice

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday commissioned a Sexual Offences and Special Courts for Corruption and Economic Crime Cases, with a vow to make the State uncomfortable for sexual offenders and bring perpetrators of economic crimes to justice without delay.

Governor Ambode, who spoke at the commissioning of the Courts at G.R.A in Ikeja, noted that economic crimes and sex-related offences had become too rampant, hence the establishment of dedicated courts, to handle such matters for quick dispensation of justice.

Representative of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd right); Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke (right); Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (left) and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo (2nd left) during the commissioning of Sexual Offences and Special Courts for Corruption and Economic Crime Cases at the Rosaline Omotosho Courthouse, Ikeja, on Thursday, February 1, 2018.
Representative of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs) Oluranti Adebule (2nd right); Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke (right); Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (left) and wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo (2nd left) during the commissioning of Sexual Offences and Special Courts for Corruption and Economic Crime Cases at the Rosaline Omotosho Courthouse, Ikeja, on Thursday, February 1, 2018.

He expressed optimism that the creation of these special courts will assist in expeditious prosecution of economic and financial crimes and ensure that justice is attained by bringing offenders to quick justice.

The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Mrs. Idiat Adebule, disclosed that the State was collaborating with the British Council and other agencies charged with investigating and prosecuting corruption offences, by providing enabling environment, responding to inquiries and giving information to economic and financial crimes commission, to assist them in performing their statutory functions.

He added that the present administration had a coordinated strategy, across state agencies and non-governmental organizations, to prevent violence against women, children and men, through the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), to provide holistic response to issues of sexual and gender-based violence in the State.

In her remarks, wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, commended the State Government for implementing the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Justice Walter Onoghen directive, by designating not one but four courts as special offences courts, stressing that it would aid speedy hearing and prosecution of such cases.

Worried by the statistics given of reported cases, Osinbajo urged the citizenry to look beyond the statistics, as many more cases were probably not reported.

She urged everyone to aid the long arm of the law to reach far and wide, by ensuring that cases were reported and given speedy hearing. This, according to her, would ensure that justice reigns for all survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, not just in Nigeria but around the world.

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Representative of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule (2nd right); Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary, Hon. Funmi Tejuosho (right); Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire (3rd right); wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo (3rd left); wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (2nd left) and the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke (left) during the commissioning of Sexual Offences and Special Courts for Corruption and Economic Crime Cases at the Rosaline Omotosho Courthouse, Ikeja, on Thursday, February 1, 2018.

According to her, “The statistics given are frightening, even more so, some do not report the crime. We must look beyond statistics and focus on the faces of the survivors.

“We must ensure that the long arm of the law reaches far and wide, all and sundry. We must assist them to bring justice which they deserve. Justice should reign for all the survivors, not just in Nigeria but around the world”.
Speaking to journalists, wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, described the establishment of special courts for sexual offences, as a new phase in criminal justice administration, meant to bring sex offenders to book.

She observed that cases of rape, defilement and related others, had become an albatross around the society, which must be fought with appropriate machineries of government.

Mrs. Ambode said that the development would assist in comprehensive implementation of the Child Rights Law, Law against Domestic Violence and other female-friendly laws, already in force in the State.

She said, “Happily, the establishment of the special courts, will guarantee sufficient judicial attention, quick determination of cases bordering on sexual offences and ultimately, quick dispensation of justice. It will also go a long way to assist in comprehensive implementation of the Child Rights Law; Law against Domestic Violence and others.”

The Governor’s wife urged victims to always speak up, while parents and guardians should assist juvenile victims report such cases to appropriate government agencies for redress and punishment for offenders.

In her address, the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon, Justice (Mrs.) Opeyemi Oke, noted that the special courts for sexual offences were first of its kind in the country, adding that Lagos State was also the first, to carry out the directive of the Chief Justice of the Federation, on the establishment of special courts, to try corruption and economic crimes.

She expressed optimism that the justice sector in the State would strive to be at its best to bring succour and hope to the people, stressing that the judiciary remained a sanctuary of hope for the common man.

Lagos DNA Centre Set To Tackle Homicide, Drug, Alcohol Abuse

Lagos DNA Centre Set To Tackle Homicide, Drug, Alcohol Abuse

…Resolves 35 Cases In Three Months

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it has awarded the contract for the expansion of the operations of the DNA and Forensic Centre to include a world class Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Section in line with efforts to expand the scope of operation of the Centre to offer more services.

The State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, who disclosed this in a statement, said the addition of the Toxicology and Chemistry Section was due to the high incidence and growing cases of homicide and suspicious deaths related to substance, alcohol abuse, drug related accidents and deaths, as well as suspected cases of poisoning.

“The award of this contract by the State Government is in fulfilment of the promise made by His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode at the commissioning of the Centre in September 2017, where the Governor informed Lagosians and the World that the first phase of the Centre was that of DNA and Forensic Biology and promised that the State would move to other phases by expanding the scope of operation of the centre to include Forensic Toxicology & Chemistry, Latent & Trace evidence, Firearms & Toolmark, Questioned documents and Digital evidence to expand the level of services offered by the DNA Centre,” the Attorney General said.

Kazeem expressed optimism that the Toxicology and Chemistry Section, which would be ready for commissioning in the third quarter of 2018, would automatically place Lagos as one of the leading centres for Forensics in Africa.

Highlighting some of the strides by the Governor Ambode administration in the justice sector, the Attorney said  the DNA and Forensic Centre in the last three months received over 150 requests for forensic analysis from within and outside Nigeria, while over 35 cases have been resolved using Forensic Technology.

He said the DNA and Forensic Centre since it began operation in September 2017, has become a significant milestone and a symbolic manifestation of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s efforts to carry out reforms in the justice sector.

Kazeem listed some of the cases handled by the Centre to include: Suspicious Death Investigations, Analysis of Human Remains that were exhumed to resolve inheritance disputes, Child Trafficking, Rape, Impersonation, Paternity and Maternity issues, among others.

“In stating the achievements of the Ambode Administration in the ongoing reform in the Justice Sector in Lagos State, the Attorney General confirmed that the Lagos DNA Forensic Centre in the three months of operation has received over 150 requests for Forensic Analysis from within and outside Nigeria, while over 35 cases had been resolved using Forensic DNA Technology,” the Attorney General said.

Besides, he explained that the Centre held workshops and training for Judges, Legal Practitioners, Police, other Law Enforcement Agencies and Emergency Responders in the State, while several representatives of foreign embassies in Nigeria and several International agencies have visited the facility and expressed their willingness to partner with the Centre, a situation, which demonstrates the importance and credibility of the centre.

As part of the ongoing overall reform of the justice sector, Kazeem also pledged the State Government’s commitment to support the reform and digitization of the probate system currently being driven by the Judiciary to make it more efficient and responsive to the needs of the people. He also vowed to accelerate prison decongestion through aggressive use of restorative justice techniques, plea- bargaining and non-custodial sentencing.

While reiterating the continued commitment of the present administration to justice sector reforms, Kazeem thanked Lagosians and enjoined all stakeholders to continue to partner with the State Government in its effort towards maintaining security, law and order.