History made in Lagos as sisters exchange baton as CJ

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Aug 21st, 2014
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JUDGE-650x400For the first time in the history of La­gos State, two daughters of a former Judge, late Justice James Williams, handed over the baton of leading the state’s judiciary to each other.

The ceremony which attracted a lot of people took place at Adeyemi Bero Hall of the state Secretariat where Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) formally swore in Justice Funmilayo Atilade as the 15th Chief Judge of Lagos State to succeed her elder sister, Justice Ayotunde Philips.

Philips, who was sworn in on June 14, 2012, bowed out on July 26 following her attainment of the statutory retirement age of 65. Justice Atilade, who was sworn in yesterday, is the fifth female chief judge of the state, according to the Governor.

Fashola, while speaking at the event, urged the new chief judge to follow the footsteps of her elder sister and adhere strictly to the rule of law in the discharge of her duties. He commended the retired Justice Philips for keeping to her promises by reforming the state judiciary during her two years tenure, saying: “She leaves behind a truly reformed judiciary; she leaves behind electronical filing of cases in Lagos judiciary; she leaves behind her sister.”

He enjoined the new Chief Judge to work hard, saying there is more work for her to do as the Chief Judge. While presenting the Chief Judge-designate for the oath of office, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye, said Justice Atilade was strongly recommended by the National Judicial Coun­cil (NJC) and ‘found wor­thy and confirmed’ by the state House of Assembly.

In her acceptance speech, the new Chief Judge called herself a child of destiny, saying her elevation to the peak of the state judiciary was ordained by God as she never thought of seeing herself as a direct successor to her sister when she took up appointment in the state Judiciary.

She informed that this was because there were six other Judges, including Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, now of the Supreme Court, between her and her predecessor.

Hear her: “I am a child of destiny; I am a child of the judiciary. This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it.”

Justice Atilade then gave the following as areas she would give priority: decongestion of the courts, training of staff, speedy dispensation of criminal cases, financial autonomy of the judiciary and effective use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

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