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By NBF News
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Five Lagos State judges have been handed outhouses by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). Fashola handed over the five newly completed fully detached five-bedroom houses at Glover Road, Ikoyi to the Lagos State judiciary as part of the state's welfare programme for judicial personnel in the state, during a commissioning and handing over ceremony yesterday.

Beneficiaries of the houses include Justices Opeyemi Oke, Kazeem Alogba, Alaba Marsh (retd), Shitta Bey (retd) and Dorothy Okuwobi.

However, the state governor warned against the sale or lease of the properties and said the purpose of the houses was to ensure the privacy and efficiency of the judges as a befitting accommodation should be part of the remuneration attached to the high court bench.

This, according to the governor, was to establish a judiciary that would deliver justice without fear or favour and without any misgivings about the future.'I want to tell the beneficiaries to adhere to the policy purpose of this project, which is strictly that it must be owner occupied. It is not for sale or letting as it undermines the security of judicial officers to have them living among the public.

'The effectiveness of the best laws and rules of procedure depends on the judges who administer them. There is no gainsaying the fact we can never have a truly democratic government without a truly independent and functional judiciary. Furthermore, the efficiency of our judges rests significantly on the adequacy of their conditions of service and the tools they have to do their work.

'In this regard, we are guided by the following immortal words of My Lord, Justice Mohammed Akanbi, who observed that: 'The mind that administers justice must be free from financial embarrassment. He must be able to think straight to be able to deliver good judgment.Poor conditions of service disturb the mind. It is an obstacle to clear and positive thinking, hence, an obstacle to justice according to the law.'

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos, Ade Ipaye, in his speech stated that the transformation of an old colonial era official building for a single family to a five-bedroom house for judges is to make things better for them. He described it as a clear manifestation of the creative spirit, sense of beauty and quest for law and order.

He added that it is neither the beginning nor the end of this housing programme for high court judges.

While urging the beneficiaries to obey the rules laid down by the state on the houses, the Lagos state Chief Judge, Justice Inumidun Akande thanked the governor.

Each housing unit consists of the following - an ante room, main living room, private living room, dining room, kitchen, five en-suite bedrooms, one box room, two bedroom en-suite chalet a gate house and a generator house.