The Lagos State Judiciary delivered a total of 23,900 judgments within the last one year, according to the state Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke.
The state chief judge made the revelation at the 2018/2019 Legal Year service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, on Monday.
“The total number of judgments delivered by the Lagos State Judiciary from October 2017 to September 2018 is 23,900.
“The High Courts delivered 3,984 rulings and 2,876 judgments. The Magistrates’ Courts delivered 16,862 judgments while the Small Claims Courts delivered 178 judgments,” the chief judge said.
Oke said that two new divisions of the High Court – the Economic/Financial Crimes Division and the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Division, were created during the period under review.
The chief judge said:”I embarked on a series of prison decongestion visits to Badagry Prisons on Nov. 9, 2017, Kirikiri Prisons on Feb. 20, Ikoyi Prison on Feb. 21.
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“Sentencing Guidelines Practice Directions were signed on March 27 and there is ongoing digitalization of the Private Registries in the Lagos State Judiciary.
“There has been the facilitation of the amendment of the High Court of Lagos Law which increased the number of judges for Lagos to 120.
“Also the Backlog Elimination Programme (BEP) aimed at getting rid of old cases speedily and through mediation has been created.”
The chief judge noted that Senior Citizens Help Centres (Legal Access for Elders) at Ikeja and Lagos Judicial Divisions of the judiciary had been created but yet to be inaugurated.
“The services will be provided for citizens aged 60-years and above,” Oke said.
Speaking at the ceremony,Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos lauded the achievements of Oke and assured the state judiciary of his continual support and partnership.
“One of the cardinal promises of our government has been the enthronement of law and order. Today, I stand a happy man knowing that we delivered on these promises.
“The increased workload and number of cases in our courts necessitated the appointment of more judges and magistrates as well as the construction of more courthouses and the renovation of existing courts to befit our judiciary.
“This has been complemented by the improved welfare of the judges and magistrates. The introduction of the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, further enhanced the quality of justice delivery in the state.
“We have also created policy and legislation that will aid speedy dispensation of justice.
“As our state is the cynosure of excellence and the economic hub of Africa, our judiciary must be at the forefront of judicial reforms to meet the expectations of the modern day justice sector,” Ambode said.
Ambode reminded the judges and magistrates that they bear the responsibility of 24 million residents of the state to ensure that the judicial system remains sound and effective.
“The plague of delay of justice delivery is an issue of major concern.
“All stakeholders in the sector must ensure that the issue is tackled vigorously by creating models that achieve speedy delivery of justice which can be duplicated across the country,” the governor said.
In his sermon, Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, urged the judges and magistrates to be of good conduct.
The sermon was titled; “The Unchanging God in Changing Times” and the reading taken from Matthew 5: 13-20.
He said that “the nation is finished if we do not have a judiciary that tows the path of honesty, integrity, discipline and righteousness.
“Do not let the word of God depart from you,” Olumakaiye said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2018/2019 Legal Year Service was attended by serving and retired judges of the Lagos State Judiciary, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, lawyers and members of the public.