The Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, has assured residents of the state that the mobile court established to try traffic offenders will operate in line with the constitution.
The Attorney General, in a statement on Monday, said justice would be dispensed in accordance with the dictates of the law and with respect for the fundamental human rights of defendants arraigned in the court.
Starting with five vans to be taken round the state, the court would also summarily deal with growing cases of environmental abuses.
Kazeem said the introduction of the court was one of the ways Governor Akinwunmi Ambode planned to ensure preservation of civility in the society.
He said, “The constitutional rights of defendants, being innocent until proven guilty, would be respected and upheld. The prosecution of defendants appearing before the court would be handled by lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, and I will directly supervise the operation of the prosecuting counsel.
“There will be lawyers from the Office of the Public Defender to defend any defendant who so desires to be defended, while defendants can also appoint any lawyer of their choice to defend them.”
A human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, while urging that defendants should not be unduly detained, had added that the mobile court would enforce discipline and sanity on Lagos roads.
He said, “I have just advised the Attorney General that we would not allow the police and the traffic officials to detain people illegally. But I have been assured that the penalty for most of the traffic offences shall be community service, which I think is a very progressive development. It is going to enforce discipline on our roads and sanity in the system.”
Falana’s colleague, Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), lauded the governor and the state judiciary for the initiative, saying the court would discourage people from violating traffic and environmental laws in the state.
He said, “This is the best time for it when there are many cases of unmitigated infraction of environmental laws and traffic regulations in Lagos. I think what the governor and those who head the judiciary have done is to provide a platform that will, by way of trial and punishment, discourage people from engaging in abuse of environmental laws and disobedience to traffic rules.”
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