The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke has said that the state government will continue to explore profitable partnerships both locally and internationally in its quest to inspire the confidence of its legal officers and also improve their capacity as defense counsels for the common man.
Justice Oke made this remark at the closing ceremony of a week-long training programme organised for legal officers in the Public Service by the state government in collaboration with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), USA on Forensic Evidence and expert witness.
The Chief Judge, who described the training experience as an eye-opener and initiative that would further expand the reach of justice delivery across the State, implored NITA to extend the partnership gesture to Judges of the State Judiciary.
She expressed confidence that the training had further exposed the beneficiaries on how to evaluate evidence and prove the innocence or guilt of their clients with a high sense of professionalism.
Also speaking at the event, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary of Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami said that the training offered by NITA will also complement activities at the Forensic Centre established by the State Government, especially in ensuring that innocent persons are not unduly punished while criminals are also made to pay for crimes committed.
The Permanent Secretary advised the beneficiaries of the training to allow the knowledge acquired from the international partners translate into increased access to legal services offered by the Office of Public Defender to hapless Lagosians.
Responding, Justice Ann Williams, Faculty Leader of NITA 2017 Team, pleaded with the law officers to ensure that justice in Lagos State become widely spread, saying that the main goal of the Institute is targeted at defending the defenseless and the vulnerable members of the society.
“What binds us together is the drive to represent our clients with the expected high standard and promote the course of justice for those who cannot easily afford the cost of hiring lawyers, hence the need for us to continue with this knowledge sharing platform to keep ourselves abreast of happenings and developments in the legal world”, the NITA Faculty Leader reiterated.
The Director of OPD, Mrs. Salami also added that the hand of fellowship extended to the Institute by the trainees, their cooperation and understanding had further aroused the willingness of the team members of NITA to continue to make Lagos State a prime place of choice for capacity enhancement and human development.
Salami, therefore, urged all the participants not to dump their study materials or skills acquired during the period of the training but rather take advantage of the training to justify government’s investment in capacity enhancement.
She noted that the week-long training afforded the state counsels the opportunity of interfacing with experts in different specialties like Ballisticians, Pathologists, Forensic scientists, Handwriting & Fingerprint experts among others.