Home / News / 2017 MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING

2017 MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING

 

MINISTERIAL PRESS BRIEFING ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE LAGOS STATE MINSTRY OF JUSTICE ON THE OCCASION OF 2 YEARS IN OFFICE OF HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE, MR AKINWUNMI AMBODE.

 

PRESENTED BY

 

 

  1. ADENIJI KAZEEM

THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COMMISSIONER FOR JUSTICE

 

 

AT

 

BAGAUDA KALTO PRESS CENTRE

THE SECRETARIAT, ALAUSA,

IKEJA

 

ON

 

18TH APRIL, 2017

 

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the Ministerial Press Briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice as part of activities to mark the second year in Office of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.

In the past two years, the Ministry of Justice has maintained the tradition of keeping our dear State at the vanguard of Good Governance, Rule of Law, Constitutionalism and we have continued to:

 

  • Ensure that the other Ministries, Departments and Agencies enjoy good quality legal advice and representation so as to act fairly, promptly and in accordance with the Rule of Law;
  • Work harmoniously with the State Judiciary, Police Command and Prison Services towards an efficient and effective Justice System;
  • Promote human right and access to justice by offering free legal advice, representation in court and mediation services to resident of Lagos State, especially the poor and vulnerable.
  • Implement the Law and Order policy of Governance by making new Laws, updating old ones and assisting the enforcement agencies.

 

It goes without saying that the task of upholding the rule of law in a highly populated, multicultural and multi-religious city like Lagos is no mean feat. We however have His Excellency to thank for his consistent and unwavering support, exemplary leadership and zeal to ensure that the maintenance of Law and Order remains a focal point in Lagos State.

At the Ministry of Justice, we are unrelenting in our drive to implement programmes that will give the people of Lagos State greater access to justice while reforming and improving our justice sector.

The cooperation and support received from State House of Assembly, the Judiciary, the Police, the Prison Services and other security operatives have gone a long way in ensuring that our dear State is a safe and secure environment for us all regardless of our different tribes, religious and political affiliations.

  1. MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY

The Lagos State Ministry of Justice has continued to champion the development of the State and permit me to say Nigeria as a whole, through its focus on citizen access to quality Justice, Law reform, due process, Law and Order.

Our ultimate mandate remains to ensure that the interests of the People of Lagos State as well as the Government are well protected.

We are unrelenting in delivering public legal service that promotes integrity; values innovation with a tradition where merit is the primary key to advancement. In achieving this, we work together to serve the people by professional and ethical    standards that promote access to justice regardless of socio- economic class and to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best Law Officers within a supportive work environment.

 

  1. PROJECTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE PAST YEAR

Our landmark feats within the past year can be categorized into four major areas:

 

  • LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES
  • LAW REFORM
  • LAW AND ORDER INITIATIVES
  • PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES

 

3.1 LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES

This Ministry through its Directorate of Legislative Drafting and the Law Reform Commission has been involved in the drafting, amendment and reforms of Laws and Regulations sponsored in collaboration with the House of Assembly and other MDAs.

 

During the period under review, 14 Bills were passed into law while 12 are currently undergoing drafting process. The following are some of the Laws and Regulations that the Ministry was actively involved in bringing into effect major policy thrusts of the State Government to the people of Lagos State and which His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has assented to;

 

  1. The Lagos State Environmental Protection and Management Law 2017.

In line with Global warming and environmental changes, the draftsmen in the Ministry have reviewed and collated all the existing and new provisions on environmental Laws to produce a compendium for simplicity and easy access of citizenry to the Law.

The overall objective of this Law is to provide clean, safe and healthy Environment for residents of Lagos State. The Law seeks to overhaul all Environmental Laws of the State and harmonize the statutory functions of all the Agencies responsible for such matters in the discharge of their respective duties thereby creating a single control body that will regulate and provide for sustainable Environment in Lagos State.

 

  1. The Lagos State Sports Trust Fund Law 2017

The Lagos State Sports Trust Fund Law 2017 repealed the Lagos State Sports Council Law, Cap. L45, Laws of Lagos State 2003 and the Lagos State Sports Endowment Fund Edit No. 4 of 1990 to meet current realities and improve Sport structures in the State.

This Law will encourage mass participation in all forms of sports and assist with implementation of Sport policies in the State. The Lagos State Sports Trust Fund and its Board of Trustees are established to manage Public and Private Contributions required to finance and upgrade standards of sports generally in Lagos State.

Other laws are :

·        The Lagos State Sports Commission 2017

·        Lagos State Kidnapping Prohibition Law, 2017

 

·        Hotel Occupancy Regulations, 2017.

·        Lagos State Employment Trust Fund Law, 2016

 

·        Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (Amendment) Law, 2016

 

·        Local Government Election Tribunal (Amendment) Law, 2016

 

·        Local Government Administration (Amendment) Law, 2016

 

·        Lagos State Neighborhood Safety Corps Law, 2016

 

·        Lagos State Properties Protection Law, 2016

 

iii.               The Stamp Duties (Recovery and Collections) Regulations, 2016

In addition to the laws assented to, His Excellency approved the Stamp Duties (Recovery and Collections) Regulations, 2016 pursuant to the powers conferred on him by the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act.

 

3.2 LAW REFORM

 

a.     THE YORUBA TRANSLATION OF THE LAWS OF LAGOS STATE

In 2016, the Lagos State House of Assembly approved the Yoruba translation of Laws of Lagos State. The Law Reform Commission has commenced the process of achieving this milestone which is the first indigenous initiative in our Country.

b.     TENANCY LAW

The Tenancy Law is presently being reviewed by the Law Reform Commission. Questionnaires have been distributed to all stakeholders (Judges, Magistrates, Legal Practitioners, Landlords, Tenants, Estate Surveyors etc.) for their various opinions and a Stakeholder’s meeting will be convened prior to the drafting of a revised Bill for EXCO approval before passage into Law by the House of Assembly.

c.      ONLINE PLATFORM FOR THE LAWS OF LAGOS STATE

In line with our drive to promote information technology in the State, the Laws of Lagos State, 2015 were uploaded online last year. The online platform provides worldwide accessibility to the laws and all laws subsequently passed by the House of Assembly. Members of the public can visit the site at www.laws.lagosstate.gov.ng to access and electronically purchase the Laws of Lagos State.

3.3  LAW AND ORDER INITIATIVES

·        STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT

As part of our mandate and interactive policies, the Ministry of Justice in January, 2017, organized a Stakeholders Summit themed the “Contemporary Trends: Catalysts for Justice Sector Reform in Lagos State”; where stakeholders from the public and private sector critically brainstormed on the collective ways to review the existing system and to introduce contemporary reforms in the Justice System of Lagos State.

 

The Blueprint Implementation Committee inaugurated after the Summit has also submitted its Report on modalities to implement the proposed reforms which will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities including the National Judicial Service Commission, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Chief Judge of Lagos State for input and contribution.

 

·        LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING INSTITUTE.

The Institute organized trainings and workshops for Law Enforcement agencies in the State and has in the period under review, organized trainings for 3,550 Officers of LASTMA, KAI and VIS; conducted Enforcement and Safety workshop for 39 LAGBUS Enforcement Officers and conducted Physical Agility Screening Exercise for Four Thousand Three Hundred and Forty Five (4,345) Neighbourhood Safety Corps Officers.

In addition, the residential basic induction training programme for Five Thousand Seven Hundred (5,700) Neighbourhood Safety Corps Officers is ongoing at Iyana Ipaja Youth Hostel.

 

·        DNA FORENSIC CENTRE

The Lagos State Government in preparation for the establishment of the DNA FORENSIC CENTRE held a symposium spearheaded by this Ministry on the 15th November 2016. The Center will be world class and the first by any Government in Nigeria. It will be geared towards enabling proper investigation, prosecution of crimes, adjudication and the administration of Justice in the State.

 

·        SPECIAL TASK FORCE ON LAND GRABBERS

The Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Akinwunmi Ambode is resolute in his resolve to use all legal means to curb the nefarious activities of Land Grabbers who, with their collaborators in high and official places have continuously enforced a reign of terror on the people of the State.

To this end, His Excellency recently approved the commissioning of the Permanent Office of the Task Force to further enhance its operations and bring succor to the people of Lagos State.

Since its inauguration in September 2016, the Task Force has received 1,237 Petitions with about 250 resolved through various means including physical enforcement, mediation and conciliation.

 

·        SPECIAL OFFENCES (MOBILE) COURT

In line with the mandate of the Lagos State Government, the Mobile Court has been able to successfully reduce street trading, traffic congestion and unethical/ anti-social conducts on the roads as well as environmental nuisances thereby improving the socio-economic well-being of the residents of Lagos State.

 

Within the period under review, a total number of Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-Six (4, 426) offenders have so far been arraigned before Mobile Court whilst series of enlightenment campaigns have been carried to make residents aware of the need to obey traffic rules and keep the  environment safe and secure.

 

·        CRIMINAL SUSPECT FORMS

The Lagos State Government recently commenced the process of building up data on criminal suspects to aid in gathering important intelligence that would eventually assist in tracing defendants and providing accurate bio-data to the Courts during prosecution of criminal cases.

 

Over 750,000 criminal suspect forms were recently handed over to the Lagos State Police Command. This was aimed at bringing about ease of justice delivery and aid in quick record keeping of criminals in the State.

 

·        REVIVAL OF THE CRIME DATA REGISTRY:

With our strong determination to combat crime in the State and the fast development of technology; through the participation of the Lagos State Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, the Lagos Police Command and the Nigerian Prison Services; we have enhanced the process of registering the electronic information of suspects and offenders.

As a result, details of convicted offenders are registered to help successfully combat crime rate in the State.

3.4            PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES

 

3.4.1  PUBLIC ADVICE CENTER (PAC)

At the Ministry of Justice we have provided an avenue for members of the public to have free access to Legal Advice through this Department. Regular sensitization and awareness programmes have taken place at different locations in the State during the period under review.

Our unfailing commitment to humanity drives the Ministry and so far a total number of 1,022 (One Thousand and Twenty Two) petitions, some via emails, have been received from residents in distress seeking advice and help on different issues varying from violation of human rights, child abuse, work benefits and pension, social welfare and child rights, inadequate security, domestic violence, kidnapping, environmental and related matters.

Furthermore, as a resulted oriented Ministry; some of the complaints have led to the State Government’s intervention in the rehabilitation of roads complained of, provision of medical aid, payment of work benefits to employees by defaulting employers, promise of inclusion of certain communities in electrification policy, ensuring justice is done and restoration of peace in communities, thus making residents of the State enjoy the fruits of good governance.

 

3.4.2 DIRECTORATE FOR CITIZENS’ RIGHTS.

The Ministry of Justice through this Unit has treated a total number of 3,663 (Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Sixty Three) cases in the period under review. This figure encompasses cases treated at the Taskforce Unit, Human Rights Violation and such other matters; Consumer Rights Protection Unit, Monetary Claims, One Stop Child Justice Centre (OSCJC), Public Interest Defence Team, Prison Watch Team that affected the integrity and dignity of persons resident in Lagos State.

During the period under review a total of 278 complaints were received by this Unit. 196 cases were successfully resolved and 82 complaints have been referred to the appropriate Ministry, Parastatal or Agency concerned for further action.

In addition, the sum of N 27,014,635.69 (Twenty Seven Million, Fourteen Thousand, Six Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand Naira, Sixty Nine Kobo) was collected on behalf of complainants by the Directorate for the maintenance/upkeep of children who were neglected by their fathers.

 

3.4.3 COMMUNITY SERVICE UNIT

This Unit has, since its introduction, ensured that non-custodial sentencing gets more coverage in the State. In line with the intendment of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of 2011 (ACJL, 2011), Magistrates now give community service sentences to offenders who commit minor offences like street trading, loitering, prostitution, and environmental offences, in order to avoid prison congestion.

Various sensitization programmes have been carried out in the State and in the period under review, 2,837 (Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven) cases were handled by the Unit.

 

3.4.4  COMMERCIAL LAW DIRECTORATE     

The Ministry of Justice through this Directorate oversees and handles all legal aspects of the Lagos State Government’s contractual and commercial transactions. In addition, this Directorate performs ad-hoc functions of controlling 2 (two) Registries domiciled in it. These are;

–         Office of the Registrar of Limited Partnerships

–         Bill of Sales Registry

Within the period under review, this Directorate has prepared a total of about 540(Five Hundred and Forty) Agreements, with 27 (Twenty-Seven) cases pending in court and about 15(Fifteen) contracts in the process of termination. While, 17 (Seventeen) Bills of Sale and 6 (Six) Limited Partnerships were registered.

In addition, the Ministry of Justice has, through this Directorate, generated a total of N425,568,991:43 (Four Hundred And Twenty-Five Million, Five Hundred and Sixty-Eight Thousand, Nine Hundred And Ninety-One Naira, Forty-Three Kobo) for the State.

 

3.4.5  ADMINISTRATOR GENERAL & PUBLIC TRUSTEE

The Office of the Administrator-General and Public Trustee is statutorily charged with the responsibility of managing intestate estates by Order of Court or by appointment as Executor and Trustee of a Will or Administrator of an Estate.

In the period under review, the Office has treated 350 (Three Hundred and Fifty) walk-in cases, commenced administration of 23 (Twenty Three) new estates and presently has a total number of 165 (One Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand) estates under I ts administration. In carrying out its administrative functions, the Office has generated the sum of N 7, 655, 387.16 (Seven Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Seven Naira and Sixteen Kobo) as revenue for the Lagos State Government.

In addition to the various sensitization programmes carried out across the State, the Office placed advertisements in respect of over 300 unclaimed Death Benefits in all Local Governments and LCDAs in the State to enable the next of kin of Local Government staff collect unclaimed benefits and it has carried out extensive renovation of dilapidated estates under the management of the Office in Alimoso, Surulere, Mushin, Ikorodu and Oshodi.

 

3.4.6  CITIZENS’ MEDIATION CENTRE

This Centre promotes the use and practice of mediation as an alternative to litigation in conflict resolution amongst the people of Lagos State. To further enhance their performance and give a wider coverage to their services, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode approved the inauguration of 3 new CMC Units at Epe, Eredo and Ikosi- Ejinrin bringing the total number of units in the State to 18.

The Ministry of Justice through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre has considered the total number of 11,813 (Eleven Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirteen) new cases; 6,503 (Six Thousand Five Hundred and Three) matters were mediated and a total number of 6,000 (Six Thousand) cases resolved.

The total value of settlement of debt related matters handled by the unit was N265, 580, 876 (Two Hundred and Sixty-Five Million, Five Hundred and Eighty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Seventy-Six naira).

 

3.4.8   DIRECTORATE OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions is committed to ensuring that all offenders are brought to book thereby discouraging impunity in our society. We are also committed to speedy trials, especially so that suspects are not detained for too long awaiting trial. It is our belief that both the victims of a crime and the alleged offenders deserve to have their cases resolved at the earliest possible time.

The Directorate also engaged in the prosecution of criminal cases in all courts. A total number of 398 cases have been prosecuted at the Magistrate Courts from September, 2016 till date. While the total number of cases prosecuted in other courts from February 2015 till date are as follows:

–      STATE HIGH COURT           1861

–          FEDERAL HIGH COURT          53

–          COURT OF APPEAL                  36

–          SUPREME COURT                     38

 

Some notable cases handled by the Directorate include:

THE STATE OF LAGOS V SEGUN FABUNMI

This is a case of indiscriminate shooting by a senior Police Officer where a young man was shot dead and many others got injured. He was charged for murder and causing grievous bodily harm. The judgement of the Trial Judge which convicted the Defendant for murder and causing grievous bodily harm was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. Defendant was Convicted for Manslaughter and sentenced to 15years Imprisonment.

 

THE STATE OF LAGOS V EICHE MENBRICK & ANOR

This is a case of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery. The Court found the Defendants guilty of the 2 Count Charge and sentenced them to Death by Hanging on the 23rd of June, 2016.

THE STATE OF LAGOS  V  NKEM IHENACHO

This is Case of Involuntary manslaughter. The deceased ran into the hands of fraudsters, who defrauded her, made her drink concoction and then beat her up. Upon getting home, she informed her husband of the incident; that made her husband angry and he also beat her with a cable wire. The beating also made her excrete on herself and she complained of body pain. She requested to be taken to the Hospital but her husband ignored her and she later died. The Defendant was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, sentenced to 15years imprisonment from the date the judgement was delivered.

 

THE STATE OF LAGOS  V  ECHEZONA NWABUFO & 3 ORS (CYNTHIA’S CASE)

The Defendants were charged for the offence of Conspiracy to murder, murder, conspiracy to steal, stealing, reckless and negligent act and having in possession property reasonably suspected to be stolen. The 1st and 2nd Defendants were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Cynthia Osokogu, while the 3rd and 4th Defendants were discharged and acquitted by Hon. Justice Akinlade.

 

THE STATE OF LAGOS  V   KENECHUKWU OKONKWO

The defendant was charged with the offence of Rape of a 29 years old salesgirl before Hon. Justice Ipaye of the High Court of Lagos State, Igbosere. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 14 (fourteen years) imprisonment.

 

THE STATE OF LAGOS V SULAIMON OLALEKAN

The Defendant was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of his wife, Mrs Chika Egbo. This verdict is a victory for the fight against Domestic Violence and victory for domestic violence victims in the State as His Excellency had pledged to make Lagos uncomfortable for perpetrators of domestic violence when he led an All-Male Walk against Sexual and Gender Based Violence late last year.

 

AD-HOC DUTIES

The Ministry of Justice through the Directorate of Public Prosecution also engages in notable ad-hoc roles to assist the state in prosecution and delivery of Justice to the public. Some of these ad-hoc duties are:

 

 

–         CASE MANAGEMENT

A case tracking team was set up to keep up with the day to day update of cases being prosecuted by the Directorate. It is presently being updated, expanded and geared towards greater effectiveness by the Data Express Limited in conjunction with the Lagos State Government to enable Lagos State solve the problem of congestion in prisons in respect of inmates awaiting trial.

 

–         WITNESS SUPPORT UNIT

A Witness support unit has been set up to assist the Litigation group in ensuring that witnesses appear in court.

 

–         SEXUAL OFFENCE UNIT

A Sexual Offence Unit was created to monitor the prosecution of Sexual Offences in the State.

 

–         LEGAL ADVICE REVIEW UNIT

A Legal Advice Review Unit has been set up to review Legal Advices issued by the Directorate where the need arises.

 

–         CRIME DATA REGISTER

A Crime Data Register has been created to enable the Directorate monitor cases between the Police force, Prisons and the Ministry of Justice.

 

–         UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC) NGAV 18 JUSTICE REFORM SECTOR

The UNODC NGAV 18 Justice Reform Sector is a United Nations Agency. In its effort to support the Justice sector in Nigeria has picked 10 States as their pilot states, Lagos state being one of them. The Ministry of Justice is one of the Stakeholders amongst others who are the Judiciary, the Police, The Prisons, Nigerian Bar Association, NGO’s, etc.

–         CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM COMMITTEE

This Committee is a multi-sector Criminal Justice Sector Stakeholders Forum with representatives from the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Prisons, etc. It is headed by the Chief Judge of Lagos State.

This Forum discusses policy issues in relation to the Criminal Justice Sector and proffers solutions in resolving challenges and other issues in relation to investigation, prosecution, judicial proceedings and prison congestion. It also provides an opportunity to informally resolve any outstanding relevant issues in the Criminal Justice Sector.

 

–         COLLABORATION BETWEEN NIGERIAN PRISON FELLOWSHIP AND MINISTRY OF JUSTICE ON RESTORATIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE

As part of efforts to overcome Prison congestion and ensuring accelerated hearing for minor offences, the Ministry of Justice and Prison Fellowship has embarked on collaboration to explore the adoption of restorative justice measures as part of sentencing options for designated relevant offences. This will eliminate the excessive use of prison sentences for minor offences.

The initiative is to embark on a pilot scheme to assess the feasibility of Restorative Justice Options rather than imprisonment.

–          

–          

–          

–         COLLABORATION WITH THE DIRECTORATE OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS AND UNICEF

The European Union under agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria is funding a project: Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria 2013 – 2017. The project is jointly implemented by UNICEF and UNODC. UNICEF is implementing the child justice aspects of the project and they have shown interest in collaboration with this Directorate in furtherance of their goals.

 

 

3.4.9 DIRECTORATE OF CIVIL LITIGATION

This Directorate is responsible for instituting and defending Civil actions involving the State Government, its Ministries, Departments and Agencies. The Directorate also adopts proactive case management techniques in its efforts to minimize the State Government’s liability exposure by working with the Directorate of Advisory Services to eliminate those factors before they result in claims or law suits. During the period under review, the Directorate has defended several matters in the State High Court, Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court with a total number of 736 cases transferred from MDAs, 232 new cases and over 24 judgements obtained.

SOME NOTABLE JUDGEMENTS OBTAINED DURING THE PERIOD UNDER REVIEW ARE:

THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION VS.THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF LAGOS STATE (ON LAND REGULARISATION). In this case, the Defendants brought a Notice of Preliminary objection on whether the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to entertain cases between the Federal Government and the State Government on land matters having divested its interest in the said subject matter especially at No 10, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State and if they have locus standi to institute this action. The Supreme court held that the Federal Government cannot invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme court as it is not a matter between a Federal  and State Government, but between the State Government and Federal Government allottees who are individuals hence all matters should be prosecuted and litigated upon at the High Court of the State.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, LAGOS STATE & ORS VS. ZANEN VERSTOEP AND COMPANY NIGERIA LTD

On 23 June 2016, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos State reversed the decision of the Federal High Court of Lagos which in 2006 awarded the sum of $5,707, 297.90 (N1,598,043,160 – One Billion Five Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Forty Three Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Naira, Ninety Kobo) against the Lagos State Government.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

 BIZCIRCUIT NIGERIA LIMITED VS NAFDAC, NESREA, LASEPA, LASURA

In this case, the Lagos State Government had sealed Up the Claimants’ laboratory as a result of emission of obnoxious gases that affected some pupils and teachers at the Ogba (junior) Grammar School. The matter was referred to the Lagos Settlement Week (LSW) by the Court. At the Multi-Door Court House, Terms of Settlement were entered and these Terms will be entered as Judgement. By this action, the Sum of N15,000,000 (Fifteen Million Naira) was saved in favour of the State.

 

3.4.10 ADVISORY SERVICES AND JUDICIAL LIASION

This Directorate is charged with the responsibility of reviewing petitions and advising Government MDAs on applicable legal position as well as practical steps to be taken towards the resolution of issues raised. The Directorate has within the period under review, received 1,430 (One Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirty) petitions and requests for Legal Advice from both Government Agencies and members of the public. Whilst 32 (Thirty Two) matters are being handled at the National Industrial Court.

 

3.4.11 OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER (OPD)

This Agency is charged with the responsibility of providing legal aid services to indigent members of the public. The policy thrust of OPD includes the enforcement of legal rights of citizens and paying attention to the socio-economic rights of the poor and vulnerable in the society.

During the period under review, OPD handled 4,149 petitions and 5,400 cases which cut across labour, civil, criminal, coroner’s inquests and fundamental rights at various courts, on behalf indigent residents of Lagos at no cost. In addition, OPD embarked on 35 Rescue Missions and through its intervention, ensured that 30 children were put in custodial care.

The Office in conjunction with UNICEF provided free legal services to children in various detention centres. This project lasted for three months and at the end, OPD represented 153 children with more than 100 released from custody through its intervention.

OPD also facilitated the collection of N9, 465,826.75 (Nine Million, Four Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twenty Six Naira, Seventy-Five Kobo) as compensation on behalf of complainants within the last one year.

 

3.4.12 DIRECTORATE OF LEGISLATIVE DRAFTING

The Ministry of Justice through the Directorate of Legal Drafting renders legal advice on legislations, preparing draft bills, draft amendments to existing legislations and subsidiary legislations such as Regulations, Orders, Rules and other instruments for consideration by the Executive Council. The Directorate also renders legal opinions in respect of Petitions arising from Chieftaincy or community based issues in addition to vetting of Draft Memorandum of Council on appointment, recognition, elevation and upgrading of Chieftaincy stools.

Within the period under review, the Directorate rendered 110 (one hundred and ten) advisories to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs with about seventy-seven (77) Chieftaincy cases being handled at various Courts. On the other hand, the Directorate has 12 Bills and Regulations undergoing drafting process.

  1. TOTAL ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE MINISTRY IN THE LAST TWO YEARS

 

  • STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT

The Ministry successfully hosted the 2017 Lagos State Justice Stakeholders’ Summit from 30th to 31st January, 2017. The event which was acclaimed as the largest gathering of Lawyers in Nigeria in recent times, gave birth to a communique that was worked upon by a Ten Member Blueprint Implementation Committee. The Committee has recently submitted its report on modalities to implement the proposed reforms which will be forwarded to The National Judicial Service Commission for input and contribution.

  • HANDING OVER OF CRIMINAL SUSPECT FORMS

The Ministry, on behalf of the State Government handed over 750,000 newly introduced Criminal Suspect Forms to the State Police Command in the month of March, to ease Justice Delivery, help in Record keeping and intelligence gathering of Criminals in the State.

  • SPECIAL TASK FORCE ON LAND GRABBERS (PERMANENT OFFICE)

The new permanent Office for the State Special Task Force on Land Grabbing was formally commissioned in March to further enhance its operations and bring succor to the people of Lagos State.

  • PROVISION OF FREE LEGAL SERVICES

The Ministry provides free Legal Services to people of Lagos State as part of its mandate. In the period under review, cases successfully resolved by various Departments and Agencies of the ministry are stated below:

  • The Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC) resolved 11,813 (Eleven Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirteen).
  • The Office of Public Defender (OPD) attended to 4,149 (Four Thousand, One Hundred and Forty Nine) petitions and handled 5,400 cases in various Courts.
  • The Directorate of Citizens’ Rights (DCR) resolved 3,663 (Three Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty Three) Human Rights cases.
  • Community Service Unit (CSU) resolved 2,837 (Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Thirty Seven)
  • Directorate of Advisory Services and Judicial Liaison attended to 1,430 Petitions and has 32 cases pending at the National Industrial Court.
  • The Public Advice Center attended to 1,022 (One Thousand and Twenty Two) petitions received.

 

  • OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR GENERAL AND PUBLIC TRUSTEE (AG&PT)

This Office presently has 165 (One Hundred and Sixty Five) estates under its administration. The Office generated the sum of N7,655,387.16 (Seven Million, Six Hundred and Fifty Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Eighty Seven Naira and Sixteen Kobo) as Revenue for the State Government; placed advertisements in respect of over 300 unclaimed Death Benefits in all Local Governments and LCDAs in the State to enable the next of kin of Local Government staff collect the unclaimed benefits and carried out extensive renovation of dilapidated estates under the management of the Office in Alimoso, Surulere, Mushin, Ikorodu and Oshodi.

 

  • DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESPONSE TEAM (DSVRT)

The Team obtained judgments in Defilement matters, ranging 7years, 10 years and 15 years imprisonment, respectively. In addition, Engagement and Sensitization campaigns for Army Personnel on Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Rape were carried out. While NURTW Officials were conscripted as Ambassadors in the fight against Sexual and Gender based Violence.

During the period under review, the team has handled 920 cases bordering on Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Sexual Violence. The Team has also assisted 20 survivors of defilement with sponsorship for their education, provided professional Psycho Social Therapy for 20 Rape and 60 Domestic Violence Survivors respectively as well as 30 survivors of Intimate Partner Violence.

 

  • LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES

The Ambode-led Administration has continued to enact Laws that would impact positively on people’s lives. Among such Laws are;  Employment Trust Fund Law, 2016, Kidnapping Law, 2016, State Environmental Protection and Management Law 2017, the State Sports Commission Law 2017 and the State Sports Trust Law 2017. In addition, several Bills and Local Government Bye Laws were reviewed some of which are Local Government Levies (Approved Collection) Bill, People with Special Needs Bill, the Administrator- General Bill, Street Naming and House Numbering Bye-Law, Regulation on Burial functions and Rates Bye-Law

 

  • STAMP DUTY

His Excellency approved the Stamp Duties (Recovery and Collections) Regulations, 2016 pursuant to the powers conferred on him by the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act. To this end, the Lagos State Government has recently approached the Supreme Court for the interpretation of certain provisions of the Stamp Duty Act over the stamp duty deductions by the Commercial Banks which is a revenue due to the State Government.

 

  • COMMERCIAL LAW

A total of 540 (Five Hundred and Forty) Agreements were drafted for the State Government. While, 17 (Seventeen) Bills of Sale and 6 (Six) Limited Partnerships were registered. With a total of N425,568,991:43 (Four Hundred And Twenty-Five Thousand, Five Hundred And Sixty-Eight Naira, Nine Hundred And Ninety-One Naira, Forty-Three Kobo) generated for the State.

 

  • PRISON VISIT

This Ministry paid a working visit to Ikoyi and Kirikiri Medium Security Prison earlier this month to get a first-hand evaluation of the living conditions of the Awaiting Trial Inmates with a view to making appropriate recommendations to decongest the Prisons through Rapid Prosecution and Amnesty Considerations.

 

  • SPECIAL OFFENCES (MOBILE) COURT

The Special Offences Court has contributed to the efforts of the State Government by significantly reducing street trading, traffic congestion and unethical/anti-social conducts on the roads as well as environmental nuisances thereby improving the socio-economic well-being of the residents of Lagos State.

 

Since it began operations in March, 2016, a total number of Four Thousand, Four Hundred and Twenty-Six (4, 426) offenders have so far been arraigned before Mobile Court whilst series of enlightenment campaigns have been carried to make residents aware of the need to obey traffic rules and keep the      environment safe and secure.

 

  • CRIMINAL SUSPECT FORMS

Over 750,000 criminal suspect forms were recently handed over to the Lagos State Police Command on behalf of the Lagos State Government. This was aimed at bringing about ease of justice delivery and aid in quick record keeping of criminals in the State.

 

  • LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING INSTITUTE.

The Institute organized trainings and workshops for Law Enforcement agencies in the State some of which are, 3,550 Officers of LASTMA, KAI and VIS, 39 LAGBUS Enforcement Officers and also conducted Physical Agility Screening Exercise for 4,345 Neighborhood Safety Corps Officers.

An induction training programme is presently ongoing for Five Thousand Seven Hundred (5,700) Neighborhood Safety Corps Officers at Iyana Ipaja Youth Hostel.

 

  • DNA FORENSIC CENTRE

The Lagos State Government in preparation for the establishment of the DNA FORENSIC CENTRE held a Symposium spearheaded by this Ministry on the 15th November 2016. The Center will be world class and the first by any Government in Nigeria. It will be geared towards enabling proper investigation, prosecution of crimes, adjudication and the administration of Justice in the State.

 

  • LIS PENDENS ELECTRONIC REGISTRY

The Lis Pendens is an innovative model borne out of a strong partnership between the Lagos Ministry of Justice, the Lagos State Lands Bureau and Legal Metrics Solutions Limited and a one stop platform to search and get litigation information (if any) on any land or property to be purchased by members of the public. This innovation is targeted at assisting lawyers and investors verify the litigation status of a property before going ahead with the purchase.

Presently, the Lis Pendens is at the test run stage with data of cases being collated from the High Court Registry, Lands Bureau and Ministry of Justice.

 

  • LEGAL CLINIC

The Public Advise Center (PAC), a Unit under this Ministry organized a Legal- Clinc Advisory Day bringing together all Agencies and Departments in the Ministry charged with the responsibility of providing Free Legal Services; DCR, OPD, CMC, DSVRT, PAC, Task Force on Land Grabbers and the Office of the Administrator General and Public Trustee, to enlighten, advise and render free legal services to conference participants and residents in the State.

 

  • CITIZENS MEDIATION CENTRE

In a bid to further extend its free mediation service to the citizenry in the State, His Excellency approved the opening of three additional offices in Epe, Eredo and Ikosi- Ejirin making a total of 18 units spread across the State.

 

  • RAPID TAX PROSECUTION UNIT

In line with the commitment of this Ministry to provide adequate support to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) on its mission to ensure that tax payers comply with tax laws and ensure full tax compliance through prosecution of defaulters, the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit was set up.

This enforcement procedure has ensured some level of compliance with tax defaulters approaching LIRS to offset their outstanding tax liabilities. So far, 87  cases have been filed at the Magistrate Court and 27 filed at the High Court and the total sum of N 26,857,933.600 (Twenty Six Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Three Naira, Six Hundred Kobo) generated for the Lagos State Government.

 

  • ONIBA KIDNAP CASE

The State has commenced the trial of the key suspects arrested in connection with the kidnap of Oniba of Iba Town, Oba Yishau Goriola Oseni.

 

  • LEKKI GARDEN BUILDING COLLAPSE

The Lagos State Government has put all machinery in place to prosecute the contractors and others found wanting with regard to the collapse of a five-storey building which occurred on March 8, 2016 in Lekki, leading to the death of 30 persons. The State is committed to protecting the lives and properties of its residents.

  • THE STATE OF LAGOS V SULAIMON OLALEKAN

The Defendant was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of his wife, Mrs Chika Egbo. This verdict is a victory for the fight against Domestic Violence and victory for domestic violence victims in the State as His Excellency had pledged to make Lagos uncomfortable for perpetrators of domestic violence when he led an All-Male Walk against Sexual and Gender Based Violence late last year.

 

  • THE STATE OF LAGOS V ECHEZONA NWABUFO & 3 ORS (CYNTHIA’S CASE)

The Defendants were charged for the offence of Conspiracy to murder, murder, conspiracy to steal, stealing, reckless and negligent act and having in possession property reasonably suspected to be stolen. The 1st and 2nd defendants were convicted and sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Cynthia Osokogu, while the 3rd and 4th defendants were discharged and acquitted by Hon. Justice Akinlade.

  • ATTORNEY GENERAL, LAGOS STATE & ORS VS. ZANEN VERSTOEP AND COMPANY NIGERIA LTD

On 23 June 2016, the Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos State reversed the decision of the Federal High Court of Lagos which in 2006 awarded the sum of $5,707, 297.90 (N1,598,043,160 – One Billion Five Hundred and Ninety Eight Million, Forty Three Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Naira, Ninety Kobo) against the Lagos State Government.

  • WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

This was commemorated December, 2016 with the theme “The Fundamental Human Rights of Nigerian Youths”. The day was marked with a symposium and debate for students in recognition of the importance of education for the youth.

  • INAUGURAL COMMEMORATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES

The inaugural celebration of the International Day of Families was organized by the Office of the Administrator General and Public Trustee in May, 2016. The event is globally observed annually. Its proclamation by United Nations in 1993 was a positive response to changing social and economic structures globally; which had affected and still affects the stability of family units in many regions of the world.

  1. ONGOING PROJECTS AND TARGETS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR

 

  1. Commissioning of the Magistrate Courts at Badagry, Ajegunle,
  2. Construction/Commissioning of OPD/CMC Offices in more Local Government Areas in the State.
  3. Commissioning of the DNA Forensic Centre
  4. Refurbishment of Court Rooms
  5. Improvement of Magistrates’ Welfare
  6. Review of Tenancy Law
  7. Translation of the Laws of Lagos State into Yoruba Language
  8. Official Launch of the Lagos State Lis Pendens Registry

 

  1. CONCLUSION

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the afore-stated represent some of what we have been able to accomplish at the Lagos State Ministry of Justice during the period under review. These efforts of our various directorates, agencies and units have been deployed to ensure the improvement of your access to justice system and provision of quality legal advice and representation for the Government and people of Lagos State.

We shall also sustain our working partnership with Stakeholders in the justice sector to ensure that our state remains a refuge of safety and security for every resident.

I want to assure Lagosians that the complete reform of the justice sector is exceedingly important to the government of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and collectively, we will not relent until Justice, security and good governance is enthroned in Lagos State.

To the members of the Press, your contribution to the success of this Administration has been remarkable. We are most appreciative.

 

On behalf of the Governor of Lagos State, I thank you all for support and attention.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko lo je wa logun.

 

 

THANK YOU.