Lagos – Governor Babatunde Fashola, Tuesday, said Lagos State Office of the Public Defender, OPD, has handled 34,100 cases since it was established 12 years ago. Governor Fashola spoke at the formal opening of the OPD new office complex in Surulere, Lagos.
He said the construction of the new OPD office complex demonstrated his administration’s commitment to effective delivery of justice to the people of Lagos, irrespective of status or class, saying “we intend to continue to pursue this cause as one of our agenda and ensure that those seeking for justice are able to get it.”
According to him, the OPD had played a key role in the defence of ordinary citizens, especially the poor, in both civil and criminal matters, and expressed the hope that the office would continue to provide justice and bring smiles to the faces of the poor.
Also speaking, Mr. Ade Ipaye, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, believed the OPD was a manifestation of public-spirited thinking to provide a voice for the voiceless in the society.
Ipaye said: “It appeals directly to the ideals of a just and egalitarian society in which the rights of all men and women, whether young or old, rich or poor, are protected with equal force by the laws and authorities of the land.”
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, Chairman, OPD Governing Council, said investing in justice service delivery would aid social stability, growth and poverty eradication.
Owasanoye said the edifice would be seen as a symbol of access to justice and increase the confidence of the people seeking justice.
On her part, the Director, OPD, Mrs Omotola Rotimi, promised that the organisation would continue to safeguard the fundamental rights of the poor through free and quality legal representation.