The Lagos State Government has promised to protect and respect the rights of all.The Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Funlola Odunlami, said this at a workshop by the Public Advice Centre (PAC) held at the Combo Hall of the Lagos Television.“In Lagos State, the protection and advancement of human rights is the cornerstone of the rule of law, the Ministry, therefore, places high premium on various programmes that provide free access to justice for Lagos State citizens.The government, she said, would continue to take the lead in legislation and law reform initiatives.
Mrs Odunlami re-assured residents that they would have access to justice.“The workshop will, therefore, give members of the public a good opportunity to learn and know more of the Centre’s role, its positive impact in ensuring that rights of individual resident of the State are well protected and guaranteed,” she said.Mrs. Odunlami said PAC was established to give free legal advice, independent information to residents of the state on issues, adding that the Centre also assists in referring the users to other appropriate government and key non-governmental agencies to deal with respective issues brought to them.The Solicitor-General appealed to the public to take full advantage of the gesture of the services provided by the centre.In his paper, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, advocated the decentralisation of the agency as it was with Citizens’ Mediation Centre, stressing the need to open offices in various local governmnet areas to enable the public to have access to the centre’s services.Speaking on “Advising the public in the season of shock and distrust”, Executive Director, Access to Justice, Mr Joseph Otteh, stressed the need to avoid corruption in the judiciary.According to him, the judiciary is a major factor why people have lost many case.”The judiciary must avoid many of the things that cause delay in court. We must also bring an end to corruption of justice. Judiciary as an institution is polluted and this must change,” he said.He added that to change the face of the administration of justice, there was the need to have a strategic plan that is geared towards influencing the life of the people.“Courts should be reformed. We should work with our justice institutions in the state to see how we can stab out delay and corruption in the justice system in Lagos State,” he said.PAC Director, Mrs Margaret Asumah, said PAC would attend to those who come for advice and refer them to the appropriate agencies to deal with their matter.This, she said, was necessary to make access to justice easy, noting that many people had issues but did not know where to go.
Source : The Nation