The Chief Judge of Lagos State and the Chairman of Judicial Service Commission, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke has disclosed that the essence of the customary court is to ensure that justice is available to all in the state.
Justice Opeyemi Oke, who disclosed this at the opening of a two-day workshop organized by the Judicial Service Commission for 46 Presidents and 178 members of Customary Courts in Lagos, added that it is imperative that more courts are established and effectively administered to make justice accessible across all social strata for any given society.
Speaking further, she noted that the theme of the workshop; “Promoting Administration Of Justice: The Customary Court Of Lagos State”, is apt, highlighting the reforms that have taken place within the customary courts system of Lagos State with a view to enhancing administration of justice across the the metropolis and touching the lives of the common man as it was.
According to her, “The administration of justice is indeed a broad term, and within that general rubric, the state strives within its enabling laws and institutions to achieve fairness, ensuring justice and impartiality according to the rule of law. The rules applicable to the administration of justice are extensive and refer to, amongst other concepts, fair trial, and presumption of innocence, independence and impartiality of the court or tribunal, and the right to appropriate remedy”.
While noting that the main vehicle for the protection of human rights at all levels of the system of administration of justice is necessary for the peace and stability of the State, she informed the participants that an equitable and effective system of administration of justice is essential for protecting minority rights, which is also important to ensure a flourishing of an inclusive democracy.
Justice Opeyemi reiterated that in order to promote the administration of justice in Customary Courts, it is essential that the President and Members of the Court are acquainted with the provisions of the enabling law, that is, the Lagos State Customary Court Law 2018 (as amended) hence the need for the workshop.
Earlier in her address, the Executive Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, disclosed that the workshop is the very first of its kind to be organized for the Presidents and Members of Customary Courts after the amendment of the Lagos State Customary Court Laws in 2018, noting that the workshop has proved to be very essential due to the need to ensure that the Presidents and Members of Customary Courts are well informed and trained for effective and proper discharge of their duties.
She opined that the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission is first amongst others in the federation and is strategically leading effective performance in the administration of justice system in Nigeria.