Barristers & Solicitors
‘Why reconstruction of Igbosere High Court is delayed’

The Lagos State government has said budgetary constraints are behind the delay in the reconstruction of the burnt Igbosere High Court.

Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat stated this while answering questions from journalists at the New Year Legal Service 2022/2023 at the Lagos Central Mosque, Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Lagos.

The Igbosere High Court – Nigeria’s oldest – was razed down by hijackers of the #EndSARS protest on October 21, 2020, who carted away computers, printers, files, fans, air conditioners and other items from the complex.

Originally called the Supreme Court with its jurisdiction limited to Lagos, the court’s existence dates back to the period of the cession of Lagos to the British Government when Lagos was known as a British Protectorate.

Dr. Hamzat explained that the reconstruction depends on the budget.

He said: “Remember, if you have a budget, you have a budget for various things. Where do we take (funds for reconstruction) from? Is it the funding of the schools that you take from to go and repair what is already done? Or do you stop what is already in progress? So, it has to be juggled.

“The bottom line is that we cannot continue to destroy our assets. It is just wrong.”

“What they don’t know is that they are destroying the assets of the state and Lagosians also need to condemn that.”

Dr. Hamzat, however, noted that a Trust Fund has been set up to commence the reconstruction of the court complex.

Earlier, Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, appealed to the state government to urgently look into the reconstruction of the court.

Justice Alogba, who was visibly sober, lamented the destruction of the court, saying it was a monumental edifice that must be revived.

During the service, an Islamic scholar, Dr. Ishaq Sanusi urged the judiciary to ensure that justice reigns supreme in the country.

Dr. Sanusi spoke on the topic, “Dispensation of Justice: Panacea to Dwindling Economy and Political Instability in Nigeria”.

He said: “If we can achieve this, this country will be great again, attain economic development and political stability”.

He advised judges not to allow hatred to becloud their sense of judgment but to dispense justice with fairness.

Ustadh Abdul Hakeem Awwal, whose lecture was in Yoruba, lamented the state of insecurity in the country and urged the government to urgently address it.

In a remark, Bashorun Musulumi of Lagos, Alhaji Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy urged the Chief Judge to revive prison visits to address the problem of prison congestion, noting that the number of awaiting trial inmates far outnumbers the convicted inmates.

Diocesan Bishop of Lagos West, Rt. Rev. Olusola Odedeji, who delivered the day’s sermon at the Christ Church, Marina, Lagos urged judicial officers to see their position as a means for the greater good and urged them to stand steadfast in the cause of justice.

“The position you are in  is not a mistake, it is providential. The judiciary has always been the last hope of the masses, we must not dash this hope. People believe so much in you.

“We, as judges, pastors deal with the destinies of men and we cannot afford to fail them. Where you are today is not a final bus stop; it is a means to an end. Each of us will give account,” Odedeji said.