Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has said that the judiciary remained a critical arm of government, the last hope of the common man and the custodian of the rule of law in a democracy.
Ambode, represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Adebule, made the statement on Monday in Lagos at the unveiling of the remodeled and upgraded Court of Appeal Complex, Lagos Division.
The Court of Appeal in Lagos shut down activities as from March 10, 2014 due to the remodeling.
As a result of the shut down, all cases refereed to the court were adjourned indefinitely.
Ambode said it is the duty of the executive to protect the independence, integrity and capacity of judiciary through the provision of conducive environment for judicial officers to discharge their duties as spelt out by the constitution.
He said: “the judiciary remains a critical arm of government which is looked upon as the last hope of the common man as well as the custodian of the rule of law in a democracy.
“The provision of a conducive environment is one of the ways to protect the capacity of the judiciary.
“The remodeling of this court is in line with the signature project of the current President of the Court of Appeal resolve to take the second highest court of justice in our nation to greater heights.
“This development and effort will enhance the process of dispensation of justice.’’
The governor said that his administration placed high premium on the sanctity of the rule of law, particularly in ensuring fair and quick process of adjudication.
“We will continue to support the judiciary in every way that will ensure effective and efficient dispensation of justice,” he pledged
Also speaking, the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, described the refurbishment of the court as a `great development.’
He said that without the judiciary to control the other arms of government and the populace, there would be no civilise society.
“The judiciary in this country has come a long way and it cannot function effectively without support from the other arms of government and the people.
“Let us all join hands in developing the project known as Nigeria by ensuring that posterity has hope and faith in this country,” he said.
Innoghen expressed appreciation to Lagos State government for its support and efforts in ensuring the smooth judicial processes in the state.
In her remark, the President, Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, said that the remodelling of the court was necessary to meet the modern time structure.
“It is our hope that with this inauguration, it will be possible for us to discharge our duties more comfortably and conveniently without fear or favour in accordance with our oath of office.
“We also hope that those who come to us to seek justice in this temple of justice will be satisfied, ” she said.
Mr Monday Ubani, who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian Bar Association, said that the refurbishment of the court would make the environment comfortable for judicial activities.
He appealed for the construction of at least three more courts in Lagos to ensure quicker dispensation of justice.
“The refurbishment is a good development that must be applauded but we want expansion of the facilities at the courts.
“Many cases are pending because of lack of space and personnel.
“If we can have at least three more courts, it will ensure quicker dispensation of justice, ” Ubani said.