WHEN ATTORNEYS-GENERAL STORMED AKURE FOR MIMIKO
The body of Attorneys-General from 30 states of the federation recently stormed Ondo State for the association's fourth conference. The justice sector in the state, it is widely believed, is one of the many areas that have been transformed by the Olusegun Mimiko regime.
The eminent lawyers were not only surprised by the swift transformation of the justice sector in the state, they were also dazzled by the disarming simplicity that Governor Mimiko had brought into governance. The Attorneys-General expressed satisfaction on the level of infrastructural development that the justice sector has witnessed in the last few years.
The state Attorney-General, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) expressed the situation thus: 'When we came in, we were determined to leave the place better than we met it. Our approach was simple: we decided to rebuild the infrastructure to provide an acceptable standard of conducive atmosphere for our judges and magistrates.
'We also decided to invest in their training and welfare which is still ongoing. Today, our courtrooms are among the best in the country.'
Jegede, who is the current chairman of the body of AGs explained that he was confident to host the august gathering as the chairman of the body which affords him the opportunity to showcase the state's giant strides in the justice sector to his colleagues.
Before the commencement of the conference, the Attorney-Generals paid a courtesy visit to Governor Mimiko who gave them a warm reception. During the brief interaction, Mimiko assured his guests that his administration plays a high premium on the administration of justice. He said the rule of law will remain the cornerstone of his administration.
'We will not relent in our efforts to ensure that our justice delivery system is first class. We are among the best in the country now. We also give high premium to the welfare of judges so that they can perform at optimal level. Above all, we have put in place the machinery that will always ensure justice to the ordinary man on the street through the establishment of the Office of the Public Defender which provides sustained quality legal representation to indigent people in the state,' he said.
After the meeting, the Attorney-Generals held their conference behind closed doors. Jegede said the meeting was primarily 'for the exchange of ideas in order to improve the administration of justice system in the states. We are proud that the administration of justice runs smoothly here, particularly in making justice accessible to the ordinary man on the street. And that is a cardinal objective of Dr Olusegun Mimiko's administration. We engaged additional 26 lawyers in order to beef up our performance and personnel.
'Also, we found out that there was a need to attract agencies into the state, particularly the federal courts, in order to broaden the justice system. Instead for our people to be travelling long distances in order to get justice on certain matters that the state High Court may not have the requisite jurisdiction to entertain, we have been able to attract a judicial division of Court of Appeal here in Akure within a period of two years.'
The body expressed concern at the proliferation of arms in the country and urged the federal government to accept responsibility for funding the nation's security institutions, especially the State Security Service (SSS).
While the body raised alarm over the porosity of the nation's international borders, it called on the federal government to step up its machinery to ensure adequate policing of borders to curtail the influx of illegal arms in the country.