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Lagos judiciary, free of corruption, says Fashola
Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade

Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Funmilayo Atilade

Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has described the state’s judiciary as one that is worthy of the entire nation’s emulation.

The governor said the whole nation should draw encouragement from what is happening in the state that all hope was not lost for Nigeria.

He spoke on Friday evening at a state dinner held in honour of the immediate past Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips (retd).

The dinner was also to formally celebrate the appointment and swearing in of Phillips’ blood sister, Justice Olufunmilayo Atilade, as the incumbent and the 15th CJ of the state.

Phillips retired on July 26, 2014 as the fourth female CJ of the state, while Atilade was sworn in by Fashola on August 20, 2014 to succeed her.

Fashola joined a host of others, including judges, magistrates, legal practitioners and judicial officers to laud Phillips for what was described as a meritorious service to the state.

The governor said, “We couldn’t have been more fortunate in Lagos; for us, we take a lot of pride in celebrating those who do well; we take pride in celebrating those who serve us with all their heart and with all their being. Yes, we have challenges in the course of our duties, but in Lagos, we will continue to send out strong messages that all hope is not lost in Nigeria, because in this small corner of Nigeria, today, we have a judiciary that is now something we can hold out to the whole of the nation, a judiciary that is not corrupt.

“As we celebrate these women, we are also sending out a statement to the whole of our nation that in this state and in this city, that our integrity is more valuable to us than all of our personal assets.”

In his remarks, the Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, chronicled all the achievements recorded by Phillips while in office. He concluded that the state’s judiciary would continue to be inspired by the achievements.

According to Ipaye, notable among the legacies of Phillips’ tenure was the introduction of the electronic filing of cases in the Lagos State High Court.

Ipaye, who described the initiative as daunting, said Phillips was brave to have embarked on such a project which he said could easily have been marred in the absence of efficient human and material factors.

He said the initiative clearly singled Phillips out as a justice administrator, who was committed to seeing justice dispensed with speed.

Speaking further, Ipaye said, “Then along the line, we had introduced during her ladyship’s tenure and with her very dedicated push an electronic filing and archiving system for litigation, land and probate matters. Again, this is riding on the the back of information technology, which, I can attest, is so dear to the heart of Honourable Justice Phillips.”

Also highlighted as part of Phillips’ achievements were the renovation of old courtrooms and construction of new ones which were inaugurated across the state while she was the CJ.

Ipaye equally recalled that Phillips further worked on the state’s High Court Civil Procedural Rules and the Magistrates Courts Law, which according to him were already the most advanced in the country.

The commissioner said that High Court judges and magistrates across the state would continue to remember Phillips for the introduction of electronic media research for them.

Ipaye added, “Justice Phillips is known today as the Chief Judge that heard the cry of the detainees in the prison custody and was able to process them and for those of them that were determined as deserving of release, almost 600 of them were released in batches during her time.”

Expressing the belief that Justice Atilade would not perform less, Ipaye noted that in the fulfillment the of promise made while giving her acceptance speech, she has started to work towards speedy dispensation of justice.

This, according to Ipaye, was exemplified by the swearing in of four new judges of the High Court, only few weeks after her assumption of office.

He added, “Her ladyship has laid down the programmes which leverage on our Alternative Dispute Resolution system including multi-door court, courts of arbitration and so on, to make sure that cases are disposed of speedily, so that our judges will have a moderate case load to deal with.

“I think by doing that alone, she has made a big impression on the judges and it is remarkable that during her time, not long ago she was sworn in, she has already superintended the swearing in of four new judges of the High Court of Lagos State, and I want to say that just a few days ago, she was also able to secure the confirmation of three additional judges, who will be sworn in next week.”

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