Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Tuesday swore in eight new judges in the state, saying that COVID-19 pandemic should not slow the pace of administration of justice.
The eight judges took the oath before the Governor and members of the state’s cabinet at a ceremony held in the Executive Council chamber of the State House, Alausa, Lagos.
The new judges are, Justices Dorcas Olatokun, Yahqub Oshoala, Omotola Oguntade, Olufunke Sule-Amzat, Rasul Olukolu, Sharafa Olaitan, Ezekiel Ashade and Adeniyi Pokanu.
Sanwo-Olu charged the judges to acquaint themselves with the new culture of justice dispensation, driven by technology, which was being used in the ongoing pandemic.
The governor noted that the continuity of judicial services in the period of public health emergency, remained vital to boosting the confidence of the citizenry in the administration of justice system.
He said it was also important, to ensure adequate enforcement of regulations initiated to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“This chamber we are holding the swearing-in in has just been opened for the first time in the last two months.
“This is the reality of the global Coronavirus pandemic, which has evolved new culture in our interactions at homes and offices.
“In this period of public health emergency, we need the judiciary to keep the wheel of the justice system moving.
“The administration of justice must not be halted because of health crisis. Our judiciary should fully adapt to the evolving culture and be at the services of those who seek redress and justice at the courts.
“I have no doubt that the Lagos state Judiciary, under the leadership of Justice Kazeem Alogba, will be an arm of government that we can continue to rely on as a partner in boosting people’s confidence in government and the justice system,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the judges earned their nominations and appointments to the High Court of the state based on their sterling credentials and experience in their respective areas of engagement.
The governor also charged the judges to dispense justice without fear or favour, advising them not to soil their hard-earned reputation and family names in the course of discharging their duties.
“Having gone through your resumes, I know you have all distinguished yourselves in the legal profession and we expect you are bringing your years of experience and service to bear.
“We are convinced this journey will raise the standards of our judicial service.
“I congratulate our newly sworn-in honorable Justices and we believe you all have what it takes to be fair and equitable in dispensation of justice to our citizens.
“By being sworn in as judges, you have brought honour to your family names. However, you must ensure that your names are not tarnished in the course of discharging your duties,” he said.
The governor thanked the National Judicial Council (NJC) for the painstaking vetting of the appointed judges’ credentials, noting that he was convinced that quality and calibre of the new judges would improve judicial processes in the state.
Speaking, the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), described the event as a “special occasion” in the evolution of judiciary in the state.
Onigbanjo noted that the quality of the credentials of the appointed judges would be brought to bear in fast-tracking the administration of justice in the state.
The Lagos State Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, disclosed that the process of nomination of the judges was transparent and extended to different areas of legal profession, public service, private sector and the magistracy.
“The transparency in the selection processes of the new judges has deepened our trust in the leadership of Governor Sanwo-Olu.
“The appointment of these eight judges, having passed through rigorous competence assessment and selection process, will strengthen the capacity of the Lagos judiciary which in turn will translate to an improved service delivery in the justice sector,” Shitta-Bey said.
Speaking on behalf of the newly appointed judges, Justice Olatokun commended the governor for finding them worthy of the appointment.
She described it as a “unique privilege” to contribute their quota in deepening the justice system.
Olatokun pledged they would be upright and fearless in the discharge of their duties.