By Innocent Anaba
Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Akande, has challenged judges and magistrates in the state to be incorruptible officers whose only aim is to do justice and make pronouncements in law based on the truth with regard to all matters that come before them for adjudication.
Justice Akande was represented by Justice Ayotunde Phillip at an interactive seminar on, Promoting Ethics and Integrity at the Magistrate Courts, organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, in Lagos.
He said: “The judiciary, being the third arm of government in Nigeria, is the last hope of the common man which places probity very high up in the list of attributes we officers in the temple of justice must have.”
The Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission were co-organisers of the event.
According to the Chief Judge, “the state judiciary has always placed a high premium on integrity and ethical behaviour among its workforce,” adding, “I am confident that the magistracy in Lagos State, by its sheer numerical strength and the quality of Magistrates in its employ, is now poised to set the pace for the rest of this country to follow.”
and this seminar will go a long way to assist in the revolution.”
SERAP’s Executive Director, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, noted that objectives of the seminar were to encourage magistrate courts to participate in the fight against corruption and ensure an improved access of the citizens to justice.
He added that the establishment of an impartial, transparent and efficient justice system is a prerequisite to address corruption and restore the law of law in the country, adding that, the courts should have the capacity to effectively detect, prosecute and sanction corruption cases while corruption should be addressed within the judiciary itself to restore the legitimacy of the formal judicial system.
Second Secretary to the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Sonnemans, lamented that in a country where systematic corruption and the resulting poverty are an every day reality, an accessible and effective judicial system was often hard to find.
According to him, while the judiciary has an important role to play in the fight against corruption, Nigerian courts especially at the lower lever are unfortunately known to have not properly played such role.