The Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, on Wednesday, restated that his administration would
continue to strengthen the capacity of the judiciary, so that people will have fair dispensation of justice, irrespective of age, gender, religion, geographical location or political affiliation.
Abiodun, who noted that efficient and effective administration of justice remains an important pillar of access to justice and by extension, a key indicator towards the Ease of Doing Business in any society, declared that the current administration in the state would continue to espouse policies in order to make Ogun remain the safest place to work, live and do business in Nigeria.
The governor made these known while inaugurating the Governing Council of the Ogun Multi-Door Courthouse and Award ceremony, held at the Ogun State Magistrate Court, Isabo, Abeokuta, the state capital.
Represented at the event by his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Abiodun explained that the Multi-Door Courthouse, as part of the public justice system has been emplaced to enhance access to justice by providing alternative mechanisms to supplement and complement litigation in the resolution of disputes across the states.
He noted that Ogun State Judiciary was among the few states that first complied with the directive of the National Judicial Policy to adopt the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism into the Court System.
The governor added that Ogun is the only state in the country with multiple Multi-Door Courthouses which were constructed by the indigenes of the respective communities in which they are sited without the input of government.
He said since OMDC was first launched on 13th February, 2017, three Multi-Door Courthouses in Ijebu Ode, Sagamu and Ota had been inaugurated in 2018, 2019 and 2021 respectively.
The governor stressed that inauguration of the Governing Council is another symbolic demonstration of his government’s commitment to the principle of inclusiveness in governance, which he pointed out “gives more of our people the opportunity to contribute to the process of governance and give them a voice in matters that concerns them, especially as governance is all about the people”.
While commending the brains behind the conception of the Multi-Door Courthouses, Abiodun also commended the partnership and collaboration of the indigenes of various communities in which the Multi-Door Courthouses are sited in the state.
“The Multi-Door Court House in Abeokuta was constructed by the Egba Traditional Council, with contributions from some of the Obas and well meaning sons and daughters of Egbaland. It was furnished by Sir Kessington Adebutu. The Multi-Door Court House in Ijebu-Ode was constructed and furnished by the Ijebu Traditional Council in collaboration with some sons and daughters of Ijebuland. The Multi-Door Court House in Sagamu was constructed and furnished by the Remo Growth and Development Foundation and well meaning sons and daughters of Remoland.
“Finally, the Multi-Door Court House in Ota was constructed by Chief Seun Akinbiyi, SAN and his wife Hon. Justice S. E. Akinbiyi, a serving Honourable Judge in Ogun State. Furthermore, the Multi-Door Court Houses are being maintained by the Ogun State Judiciary”. The governor stated.
Noting Ogun State has been in the forefront of the Judicial System in Nigeria over the years, Abiodun disclosed that “since inception of the Courthouses 920 cases have been filed in the Court Houses as at the end of February, 2021. Also, 523 cases have been resolved/settled since inception of the Multi-Door Court Houses”.
He stated further that workings of the Multi-Door Court Houses will be governed by the Multi-Door Courthouse Law of Ogun State, 2020, signed into law on the 27th of August, 2020, saying “pursuant to section 7 of this Law, the Courthouses will be under the supervision of the Governing Council which will also work under the directives of the Honourable Chief Judge of Ogun State”.
The governor emphasised that the inauguration of the Governing Council of Ogun State Multi-Door Courthouse is another symbolic demonstration of his administration’s commitment to further strengthen the judiciary as a stakeholder in the successful implementation of ‘Building our Future Together Agenda’.
Abiodun, however, charged the members of the new Governing Council headed by Justice S.A. Olugbemi, to bring to the fore their innovative and adaptive capabilities.
He informed them that the Council was coming in at a crucial period in the developmental history of the Multi-Door Courthouse as an integral of the judicial system and administration.
“I charge you to appreciate the enormity of this assignment. You are expected to bring to the fore, more than before, your innovative and adaptive capabilities. In fact, we expect you to make strong bricks without straw. You must think outside the box and even without a box. Therefore, there is need to be more focused, mentally alert and courageous. I am convinced that you are all equal to the task. You have all been chosen, largely on your towering credentials and individual merits.
“But, it is also important that we remind ourselves that you have been selected from among a wide pool of equally qualified and competent people of which Ogun State is abundantly blessed. You must, therefore, abide to the oath of office and justify the confidence reposed in you by the State government and the good people of our dear state.
“At this point, let me restate our administration’s commitment to a society that is free, fair, just and ensures obedience to the rule of law. This guarantees that all the people of Ogun State will have opportunity to individual prosperity. We will continue to strengthen the capacity of the States’ Judiciary so that our people will have fair dispensation of justice, irrespective of their age, gender, religion, geographical location or political affiliation. We are committed to an adjudicatory process that is not only quick without constituting a financial burden to the litigants, but also one that ensures that Justice is served.
“Let me reassure our people that the Ogun Multi-Door Court House (OMDC) will continue to ensure a hitch-free dispensation of justice along this broad spectrum of conflict resolution, conciliation and mediation. In like manner, we will continue to come up with policies and innovations that will continue to strengthen our state’s judiciary”. Abiodun submitted.
He listed the Ogun State Civil Justice Transformation Lab Draft Strategy, establishment of the Small Claims Court, establishment of the Ogun State Public Interest Law Partnership (OPILP), Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) and Violence Against Persons Management Committee (VAPMC) as initiatives put in place by his administration to enhance justice administration and delivery in the state.