By Abdulwahab Abdulah & Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—Worried by increase in number of inmates awaiting trial in the nation’s  prisons, Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has advocated severe punishment for anyone found delaying administration of justice in the country.

Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has disclosed that the major challenge confronting local and foreign investment  in the country is over regulation of business processes.

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem; Principal Partner, Falana & Falana, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) and representative of the Vice President, Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami during the Administration of Justice Summit organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice at the Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Monday, January 30, 2017.

They spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of the a two-day stake-holder’s summit organized by the state government, theme: “Contemporary Trends: Catalysts For Justice Sector Reform in Lagos State,” which also had in attendance the Acting Chief Judge of the Federation, Nkannu Onnoghen, Oba of Lagos, Oba Riliwan Akiolu and others.

As at this month, January 2017, a total of 47,229 inmates were awaiting trial out of a  population of 67,586 prison inmates.

Speaking about what contributes to number of awaiting trial individuals in the nation’s prisons, he explained that lateness of lawyers to court, ill-preparedness or deliberate tactics aimed at stalling  cases were often adopted.

Osinbajo argued that these tactics often resulted in requests for unnecessary adjournments and interlocutory applications to protract proceeding.

According to him, this suggests that stakeholders in the justice sector are mostly responsible for the delay in the justice system.

In order to address the persistent delay, the Acting president urged stakeholders in the administration of justice to embrace day-to-day system for trials and heavy punishment for deliberate act of delay aimed at stalling cases.

Over regulation affecting investment – Ambode

In his submission, Ambode argued that there was need to introduce new strategies that would help address the issues of transaction in the country.

As solution, he noted that the judicial system must be strengthened to encourage local and foreign investors but also guarantee conducive environment for such businesses to thrive.

The governor said experience over the years has shown that societies with equal and unhindered access to justice have a better environment for economic growth and poverty alleviation than those that do not.

He argued that this prompted his administration to prioritise justice and security reforms, not only to maintain law and order, but basically to carry out the various developmental projects that would make Lagos safer and more prosperous.

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