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NIGERIA: Former Attorney General of Lagos Canvasses Rule of Law

 Former Attorney General of Lagos, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has condemned what he described as the rot in the judiciary, stating that the situation must be reversed in the interest of the nation.
Osinbajo, a Professor of Law, stated this, recently, at the official launch of the School of Etiquette, in Lagos.

He also appealed to the political class to ensure that the rule of law prevailed in the polity so as to address some of the problems confronting the people.

He frowned at the high level of corruption, especially in the Judiciary saying, “It appears that we have not yet found how to turn things around. There is so much wrong in the system that we don’t know where to start from. There is need to take practical step to salvage our nation.”

In his key note address entitled, ‘Reforming the Judiciary: The Lagos State Experience’, he recalled that in 1999, when he was Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, it was discovered that the judiciary was notoriously corrupt, while noting that they had to do a total overhaul of the system by ensuring that the process of selection of Judges was based on merit and that they were well remunerated.

He said, “You cannot uphold values without building institutions that will sustain such values. We need to have institutions that are strong; which must be value-based. After conducting a survey in the judiciary and found out the level of corruption in the system, we developed a blueprint and concluded that remuneration was important so that Judges can live decent life and have permanent homes of their own. We also decided that appointment will also be on merit rather than state of origin.”

Osinbajo argued that if Judges could be kept free of corruption, the society would change for the better, adding, “in 2006, we did another survey in the system, and none of them said there was corruption, especially in the High Court.

Everybody knows that if they don’t behave well, there will be consequence so they try to modify their behaviours. Law and order is very fundamental. We have to ensure that integrity pays.”    

Chairman Board of Directors of the school, Mr. Emmanuel Baiyekusi stressed the need for the society to raise people, who would raise the standard of moral ethics and lead by example, adding that the school was established to make its contributions to rebuilding the broken walls and remodeling of societal values that would rejuvenate orderliness in our society.

“For us in the School of Etiquette, we believe that for a man to achieve his full potentials and for life to have meaning, we just have to do it right. There is need to raise responsible generation to create change and build better people for a great nation,” he stressed.   

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