By Henry Ojelu
The Lagos state government has ascribed the delay in rebuilding the burnt Igbosere High Court to budgetary constraints.
The Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat stated this while answering questions from journalists at the New Year Legal Service 2022/2023 at the Lagos Central Mosque, Nnamdi Azikwe Street, Lagos.
The Igbosere Court complex was burnt by some criminals during the End SARs protest of 2020.
Dr Hamzat said the reconstruction of the foremost court of the country is a function of budget.
“Remember, if you have a budget, you have budget for various things. Where do we take from? Is it the funding of the schools that you take from to go and repair what is already done. Or do you stop what is already in progress. So, it has to be juggled.
“The bottom line is that we cannot continue to destroy our assets. It is just wrong” adding “What they don’t know is that they are destroying the assets of the state and Lagosians also need to condemned that.”
Dr. Hamzat however stated that a Trust Fund has been set up to commence its assignment with reconstruction of the Igbosere High Court Complex.
The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba had earlier appealed to the state government to urgently look into the reconstruction of the burnt Igbosere High Court.
Justice Alogba made this appeal during a vote of thanks delivered at the event.
The Lagos Chief Judge who was visibly sober, lamented the destruction of the Igbosere High Court.
He said the court house is a monumental edifice that must be revived.
During the service held at the Central Mosque, Nnamdi Azikwe Street Lagos, an Islamic Scholar, Dr Ishaq Sanusi urged the judiciary to ensure that justice reign supreme in the country.
Dr Sanusi who delivered the English lecture spoke on the topic, “Dispensation of Justice: Panacea to Dwindling Economy and Political Instability in Nigeria”
He said: “if we are able to achieve this, this country will be great again, attain economic development and political stability”.
He advised judges not to allow hatred to becloud their sense of judgment but to dispense justice with fairness.
Ustadh Abdul Hakeem Awwal whose lecture was in Yoruba lamented the state of insecurity in the country and urged government to urgently address it.
Ustadh Awwal admonished judges to let the fear of God reign in their minds while delivering justice adding “you must be honest, just and fair in all cases brought before you. You must be honest and treat the rich and the poor equally.
“Lawyers who take briefs must give correct interpretation of the law and stand by the truth always. You should not allow the lust for money to take over your sense of reasoning”, he stated.
In a remark, Bashorun Musulumi of Lagos, Alh Sikiru Alabi-Macfoy called on the State Chief Judge to revive Prison visit to address the problem of prison decongestion, noting the number of awaiting trial inmates far outnumbered the convicted inmates.
He urged the Chief Judge to also ensure that cases in court are accorded e accelerated hearing pointing that justice delay is justice denial.
Diocesan Bishop of Lagos West, Rt. Rev. Olusola Odedeji, who delivered the day’s sermon at the Christ Church, Marina, urged judicial officers to see their position as a means for the greater good and urged them to stand steadfast in the cause of justice.
“The position you are in today is not a mistake, it is providential. The judiciary has always been the last hope of the masses, we must not dash this hope. People believe so much in you.
“We, as judges, pastors deal with the destinies of men and we cannot afford to fail them. Where you are today is not a final bus stop; it is a means to an end. Each of us will give account,” Rev. Odedeji said.