Opening Remarks At The  Opening Ceremony Of Nigerian Bar Association Annual Conference

Opening Remarks At The  Opening Ceremony Of Nigerian Bar Association Annual Conference

On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the nation’s Center of Excellence and the 5th largest economy in Africa.

Lagos State is connected in many ways to the history of Nigeria including the study and practice of law.  It is home to the brightest legal minds that laid the foundation for the legal profession in Nigeria. It is home to great and world acclaimed men such as Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams, the first Nigerian to become a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Taslim Olawale Elias, the first black African President of the International Court of Justice, Christopher Sapara Williams, first indigenous Nigerian Lawyer called to the English Bar. e.t.c.

 These distinguished and illustrious sons and daughters of our nation contributed greatly not only to the evolution of the legal profession in Nigeria but also to the greatness of our State over the past 50 years.

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Indeed it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to identify the icons of the profession in contemporary time without a story to tell about the limitless opportunities which Lagos offers for all to realise our dreams and reach the peak of their potentials irrespective of race, ethnic, religious or socio-economic background.  This is the legacy that has been jealously cherished by succeeding generations and which we will continue to build on because it is the source of our strength, leadership and prosperity.

It is against this background and in the spirit of Lagos at 50 celebration that we feel excited to partner with the Nigeria Bar Association in hosting this year’s annual conference.

The NBA has chosen for this 57th conference, a theme that speaks pointedly to one of the issues that have kept Africa far behind on the scale of ease of doing business. Weak Institutions constitute a major disincentive for investment which is extremely important for the efficient and effective harnessing of the huge resources that nature has blessed us with.

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Our Institutions are weak because in most cases, their establishment is influenced by personal and short term considerations. In some other cases, they are deliberately weakened in order to make them subject to the whims and caprices of the leadership.

Building and sustaining strong institution requires our collective commitment to the rule of law.  It entails building the capacity of such institutions to be able to discharge their responsibilities effectively and transparently while also being accountable to the people.   It must create an atmosphere of confidence, mutual understanding and protection against arbitrariness.

We must take a cue from developed economies where the integrity of their institutions is not compromised for whatever reason. In those climes, it is the institution that puts officials of the State in check and not vice versa as we have experienced and are still experiencing in most parts of the continent.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this is the ideal and best global practice which we, in Lagos State are striving very strongly to attain towards building an economy that is globally competitive. It has been one of our key commitments in the past two years as exemplified by the far reaching reforms we are implementing by way of security and judicial sector reforms. Happily, these efforts are yielding the expected outcomes.

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I have no doubt in my mind that this conference will produce new and useful ideas which will help in deepening the effects of ongoing efforts to build and strengthen our institutions in line with global best practice.

Before I end this brief remark, let me use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian Bar Association as a body and members to raise your voices in support of the demand for devolution of power to States and fiscal federalism, especially the review of the current revenue sharing formula.

These, in my view, are fundamental and critical to creating an enabling environment that will accelerate development in all parts of the country. The ongoing process for the review of the 1999 Constitution presents a golden opportunity for us to redress all the aberrations created by the interjection of the military that have stunted growth and inhibited the capacity of States to harness the huge potentials of our nation.

Once again, I welcome you all to the Nation’s Centre of excellence. I would have been one of you. I made a failed attempt to become a lawyer but JAMB messed me up.

Children’s Day: Lagos State Government Reaffirms Commitment To Protecting Children Against Abuse, Molestation

Children’s Day: Lagos State Government Reaffirms Commitment To Protecting Children Against Abuse, Molestation

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday reassured Lagosians that the State Government would do everything possible to ensure that six pupils of the Government Model College, Igbonla in Epe who were kidnapped in the early hours of Thursday are rescued unhurt and reunited with their parents.

Governor Ambode, who gave the assurance at this year’s Children Day celebration held at the Agege Stadium, said the celebration would not be complete without rescuing those innocent pupils safely and bring them back to school to continue their education.

He said top security arrangement was on course to guarantee their safety, pledging that his government would stop at nothing to ensure that kidnapping and other criminal activities are put to an end in schools.

Represented by his deputy, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Governor Ambode said that his administration was committed to protecting children in the state from any form of abuse, child labour or molestation by religiously implementing the Child Right Law and the Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy, adding that “it was important to protect our children today, so that they can protect us tomorrow.”

The Governor, who said that this year’s Children’s Day celebration was a unique one as the state is equally celebrating the 50thyear anniversary of its creation, called on the children to remain focused, believe in themselves and set target that would make them attain greatness in life, promising that his government will continue to create opportunities and implement policies that would help them to become the best of what they can without any barriers.

“As we celebrate this year’s children’s Day and the 50th anniversary of our state, I want you to believe that you too can achieve greatness. You must believe in yourself and in your dreams. Very soon, it will be your responsibility to take Lagos state to the level that we all desired in the next 50 years. You are agents of change and I urge you, do not just go through life, make a difference, impact life  and affect your community , What we are doing today is to lay a solid foundation for you to build on,” he said.

The Governor while reaffirming his administration’s commitment to repositioning public schools to meet world class standard, said that his administration in the last two years had invested heavily in infrastructural and manpower development in public schools, the effort which according to him, is yielding positive results as it has restored confidence in public schools.

“As a government, we recognize our responsibility to create opportunities for you to become the best you can be without any barrier, this is why in the last two years, we have invested massively in the infrastructural and manpower development in our public schools. Our plan which is being realized is to restore public confidence in our public schools,’’ he said.

Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Adeshina Odeyemi, noted that the education sector has undergone tremendous transformations since the creation of the state, adding that the number of secondary schools had increased from 55 at the creation of the state in 1967 with a total students population of 19,538 to 679 public secondary schools at present with over 564,758 students population.

Odeyemi noted that in spite of the current global melt down and general economic recession in the country, Lagos State government has continued to run free education policy from primary to secondary schools level and pay for the WAEC fees of its graduating students till date

The Permanent Secretary who noted that the allocation of a huge sum of N205.8 billion to the education sector in the year 2016 and 2017 budget was a confirmation of government‘s genuine commitment to the development of education in the state.

The highlight of the occasion was the cutting of the Children’s day cake by the Deputy Governor with other members of the State Executive Council.

Functional Judicial System Critical To Economic Growth

Functional Judicial System Critical To Economic Growth

Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo on Monday identified delay in the administration of justice as a major challenge that must be jointly tackled by all relevant stakeholders in the justice sector, just as he urged judges, lawyers and others to change their attitudes and stand up for what is right.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day Stakeholder’s Summit organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice at the Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, Osinbajo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said stakeholders in the administration of justice must now begin to take the issue of delay more seriously and shun all forms of delay tactics.

Osinbajo, who was the keynote speaker at the summit with the theme: “Contemporary Trends: Catalysts For Justice Sector Reform in Lagos State,” called on the judiciary, as a way out of the problem, to embrace day-to-day system for trials and heavy punishment for deliberate act of delay aimed at stalling cases.

The Vice President, who was represented by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), said it was also important for the judiciary to introduce significant costs for delay occasioned especially by lateness, ill-preparedness or deliberate tactics.

While alluding to plethora of statistics and judicial decisions especially a 2014 English Court of Appeal judgment where it was stated that ‘cases take up to a generation to be resolved in Nigeria occasioned by catastrophic delays,’ Osinbajo said stakeholders must now resolve to address the issue of delay once and for all in the collective interest of all.

He took a swipe at some judges who would not sit on time and rise early and lawyers who file frivolous applications and employ other delay tactics as well as shoddy police investigation, and admonish them to desist from such.

“If we can agree that these problems are against our collective interests as practitioners and stakeholders, then we must make a firm commitment to tackle the problems by changing our attitude and standing up for what is right,” Osinbajo said.

Speaking on the summit, the Vice President said Lagos State had a general reputation for trailblazing reforms in the justice sector and in many other sectors in Nigeria and beyond, adding that the summit, which is aimed at further initiating reforms in conformity with modern trends, was another testament of the fact that the reputation of the State was being taken seriously by the current administration ably led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

He said even though Nigeria was just clawing its way out of recession, it was gratifying that the State Government deemed it important to invest in the summit to address some of the institutional challenges preventing the country from developing a first-class justice system in its commercial nerve centre.

In his address, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode said for any nation to experience economic growth, it must first have a functional judicial system that would not only encourage local and foreign investors to invest in, but also guarantee conducive environment for such businesses to thrive.

Governor Ambode said experience over the years has shown that societies with equal and unhindered access to justice have a better environment for economic growth and poverty alleviation than those that do not.

This, he said, prompted his administration to prioritise justice and security reforms, not only to maintain law and order, but basically to carry out the various developmental projects that would make Lagos safer and more prosperous.

“As a government, we are well aware that to achieve our socio-economic goals of a safer, secured, peaceful and more prosperous Lagos State, we need a functioning justice sector, which guarantees not only the maintenance of law and order, the enforcement of human rights and freedom, but also provides an administration of justice ambience that protects investments and encourages economic development.

He listed some of the major challenges currently being faced by investors and entrepreneurs include the ease and cost of doing business and over regulation of business processes, saying that the Summit was not only timely but a veritable platform for experts to proffer solutions.

“We are mindful of the need to attract foreign investment, and public private investment, especially in the area of provision of infrastructure. No economy can develop without sustained infrastructural development. I firmly believe that discussions around all these issues are pertinent for this august gathering,” the Governor said.

Besides, Governor Ambode said his government was working round the clock to ensure a system where all justice institutions in the State are fully automated, alluding to the fact that global strides in commerce and information technology have transformed the world into a global village.

“One of our top priorities is to leave behind a legacy of a 21st century justice sector driven by digital technology and powered by digital literate judicial officers and legal services providers,” he said.

One of such technologies being put in place, Governor Ambode said, was the Lagos State DNA Laboratory to process DNA evidence, just as he expressed optimism that it would serve as a powerful criminal justice tool in prosecuting the guilty and exonerating the innocent.

“This will also act as deterrence to criminals whose DNA data are in the DNA database, ultimately, playing a key role in the systematic reduction of crime in our State,” Governor Ambode said.

Welcome Address Presented At The Stakeholders’ Summit On The Administration Of Justice Held At Eko Hotel Towers &D Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos On The 30th January, 2017

Welcome Address Presented At The Stakeholders’ Summit On The Administration Of Justice Held At Eko Hotel Towers &D Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos On The 30th January, 2017

I welcome the Justice Community to this Stakeholders’ Summit on the Administration of Justice specifically looking at catalysts for Justice Sector Reform in the State.

The essence of this Summit is to generate

…/ constructive and innovative

constructive and innovative ideas on the challenges in the justice sector which will serve as catalyst for further progressive reforms, and enhance the capacities of our justice infrastructure to meet the needs of the dynamic populace of our dear State.

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Lagos State is Africa’s fastest growing market and our ultimate goal is to continue to grow our economy from its present 5th position to the 3rd largest economy in Africa. Experience has shown that societies with equal and unhindered access to justice have a better environment for economic

…/ growth and poverty alleviation

growth and poverty alleviation than those that do not.

As a government, we are well aware that to achieve our socio-economic goals of a safer, secured, peaceful and more prosperous Lagos State, we need a functioning justice sector, which guarantees not only the maintenance of law and order, the enforcement of human rights and freedom, but also provides an administration of justice ambience that protects investments and encourages economic development.

DSC_2440…/ The global strides

The global strides in commerce and information technology have transformed the world into a global village. Thus, one of our top priorities is to leave behind a legacy of a 21st century justice sector driven by digital technology and powered by digital literate judicial officers and legal services providers. A justice system, where all justice institutions in Lagos State are fully automated.

We are already putting in place the infrastructure for the Lagos State DNA Laboratory for the processing of DNA evidence, which is a powerful criminal justice

…/ tool in “prosecuting the

tool in “prosecuting the guilty and exonerating the innocent”. This will also act as deterrence to criminals whose DNA data are in the DNA database, ultimately, playing a key role in the systematic reduction of crime in our State.

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As part of the discussion at this summit, we want you to deliberate on how to make Lagos State legal and judicial system an effective tool for realization of foreign investment.

Lagos must be a jurisdiction where business disputes

…/ can be robustly resolved

can be robustly resolved in a pragmatic manner. Some of the major challenges faced by investors and entrepreneurs include the ease and cost of doing business and over regulation of business processes. The summit should proffer solutions to this.

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We are mindful of the need to attract foreign investment, and public private investment, especially in the area of provision of infrastructure. No economy can develop without sustained infrastructural development. I firmly believe that discussions around all these issues are pertinent for this august gathering.

Finally, Learned Ladies and Gentlemen, as our world is becoming more sophisticated, so must be our justice sector. I congratulate you all for being part of the process of reforming our justice sector to meet contemporary demands.

I wish you a history making Summit.

Thank you.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko…Lo Je Wa Logun

Lagos State Government Commences The Implementation Of Child Protection Policy

Lagos State Government Commences The Implementation Of Child Protection Policy

The Lagos State Government has commenced implementation of the Executive Order ratified by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on December 16, 2016 which established the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

The Executive Order highlights the importance and priority which the State Government placed towards protecting the lives of children and it applies to all State Government organisations, all schools, child centred institutions, orphanages and child related institutions located in the State, both public and private.

Speaking during the annual general meeting and intervention programme put together by the Office of Education Quality Assurance which was attended by over 1,000 participants, Coordinator of Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), an agency under the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi said the State Government was determined to implement the Executive Order to ensure the protection of children.

She said the need for the landmark engagement was crucial considering the fact that schools have resumed and there was need for key stakeholders such as principals, school administrators, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), public and private school guidance counsellors, evaluators and others, to become conversant with and abreast of the provisions of the policy.

According to Vivour-Adeniyi, “The Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy must be used wherever services are provided for children and care givers are mandated to adopt a Child Protection policy in their respective institutions, nuanced to suit their respective peculiarities.

“The major aim of the policy is to provide clear direction for reporting disclosures of abuse and commitment to the development of good practice and sound procedures to keep children safe.

“The policy also ensures that child protection concerns are identified, referrals are handled sensitively, professionally and in ways that support the needs of the child’s wellbeing.”

The DSVRT Coordinator also used the medium to sound a very clear warning to all Child centred institutions both public and private, that the State Government would no longer tolerate negligence in ensuring the safety of children under their supervision and failure to adopt and implement the policy would amount to both civil and criminal actions.

Besides, copies of the policy in the form of booklets were distributed to all participants, while they participants were also informed of their mandatory duty to report actual or suspected child abuse cases, and consequences for failure to report.