Lagos Mobile Court Will Respect Rights Of Defendants – AG

…As Sans Hail LASG

The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem has assured residents of the State that the Mobile Court recently inaugurated would dispense justice in accordance with the dictates of the law and respect fundamental human rights of defendants charged before the court.

The State Government had a fortnight ago, inaugurated the Special Offences (Mobile) Court to summarily deal with growing cases of traffic and environmental abuses in the State.

Speaking at the inauguration of five vans for the kick off of the court, Kazeem said the introduction of the court was one of the ways through which Governor Akinwunmi Ambode aims to broaden the pathway that guarantee citizens’ access to justice and at the same time ensure the preservation of civility in the society.

While assuring that the Mobile Court will be operated in accordance with rules of natural justice and fair hearing, Kazeem said the Constitutional rights of defendants, being innocent until proven guilty, would be respected and upheld.

Besides, the Attorney General said the prosecution of defendants appearing before the court would be handled by lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, and that he would directly supervise the operation of the prosecuting counsel.

He said that there would be lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) to defend any defendant who so desire to be defended, while defendants can also appoint any lawyer of their choice to defend them.

Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dr. Joseph Nwobike has lauded Governor Ambode and the State Judiciary for coming up with the bold initiative, saying the Mobile Court would discourage people from violating traffic and environmental laws in the State.

“This is the best time for it when there are so many cases of unmitigated infraction of environmental laws and traffic regulations in Lagos. I think what the Governor and those who head the judiciary have done is to provide a platform that will, by way of trial and punishment, discourage people from engaging in abuse of environmental laws and disobedience of traffic rules.

“I will, however, urge that there should be a synergy between the traffic management agency in Lagos and the police in ensuring that this opportunity becomes effective and then allow it to work.

“I will also call on government to see the possibility of engaging environmental and traffic volunteers to volunteer useful information to government so as to boost tracking and the punishment processes,” Dr. Nwobike said.

Another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and rights activist, Femi Falana, said the action of Governor Ambode over the court was a progressive development which would enforce discipline and sanity on Lagos roads, as well as the environment.

According to Falana, “It is a progressive development. I have just advised the Attorney General that we would not allow the police and the traffic officials to detain people illegally but I have been assured that the penalty for most of the traffic offences shall be community service which I think is a very progressive development. That is going to enforce discipline on our roads and sanity to the system.”