LAGOS STATE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

MINISTERIAL BRIEFING

APRIL 2018

 INTRODUCTION

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the Ministerial Press Briefing of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice which is part of the activities to mark the third year in Office of His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State.

The last one year in Office has indeed been imbued with landmark moments for the People and Government of Lagos State under the motivating leadership of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. The period under review marked our 50th Anniversary as a State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Management and Staff of the Ministry, led by my humble self, are delighted by the opportunity and privilege to be part of this important milestone in State’s history.

As we are all aware, the vision of this Administration of managing Lagos State as a Mega City rests on the tripod elements of Security, Infrastructure and Poverty Alleviation.  The Ministry of Justice plays a very significant role in this regard by the effective administration of justice and upholding of the Rule of Law in our dear State. The Ministry in the period under review has among other things been committed to:

  • Ensuring that the other Ministries, Departments and Agencies are provided with quality legal advice and representation;
  • Working harmoniously with the State Judiciary, Police Command, Prison Services and other stakeholders towards an efficient and effective Justice System;
  • Promoting human rights, easy and quick access to justice by offering free legal advice, representation in court and mediation services to the people of Lagos State, especially the indigent and vulnerable;
  • Implementing the Law and Order policy of Governance by enacting new Laws, updating old ones and assisting the Law Enforcement Agencies.

It is pertinent to note that due to the peculiar nature of our justice administration, cases and petitions in court require processes which may at times take a considerable length of time to resolve. Nonetheless, the Ministry is unwavering in its commitment to ensure that the hurdles are surmounted.

  1. MANDATE OF THE MINISTRY

The mandate of the Ministry is to protect the interest of the People of Lagos State and the Government through provision of easy and quick access to justice, law reforms and adherence to the Rule of Law.

We are poised in our commitment to become the public Legal service that promotes integrity, values innovation and a tradition where merit is the primary key to advancement by working together to serve the people of Lagos State through professional and ethical standards that promote access to justice regardless of socio- economic class and to attract, develop, motivate and retain the best Law Officers within a supportive work environment.

  1. PROJECTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE PAST YEAR

Our major feats within the past year are summarized into three major parts:

  1. Provision of Legal Services
  2. Law and Order Initiatives

iii.       Legislative Initiatives/Law Reforms

3.1       PROVISION OF LEGAL SERVICES

3.1.1   Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)

The Ministry through its Directorate of Public Prosecutions received a total number of 1180 duplicate case files from the Nigeria Police Force, out of which 1178 legal advice have been issued while 2 are pending due to further investigation. The offences range from Homicide, Robbery, Sexual Offences to Fatal Motor Accident.

Notable of this is the case of a suspected notorious kidnapper, CHUKWUDUMEME ONWUAMADIKE (a.k.a EVANS) AND SOME OTHER MEMBERS OF HIS GANG. They were arraigned in different courts for offences including Kidnapping of several victims at different periods, as well as Murder and Attempted Murder. Defence Counsel has filed several applications at different courts most of which have been dismissed. Several of the cases have now gone beyond preliminary stages and trials have commenced.

AD-HOC DUTIES

The Ministry of Justice through the Directorate of Public Prosecution also engages in notable ad-hoc roles to assist the State in prosecution and delivery of Justice to the public. Some of these ad-hoc duties are:

Case Management

A case tracking team was set up to keep up with the day to day update of cases being prosecuted by the Directorate to enable Lagos State solve the problem of congestion in prisons in respect of inmates awaiting trial.

Witness Support Unit

The Witness Support Unit has aided effective and efficient prosecution of cases by ensuring presence of witnesses in Court.

Plea Bargain Committee

Committee continues to review plea bargain applications and sends its advise and recommendations to my Office.

Criminal Justice Reform Committee

This Committee is a multi-sector Criminal Justice Sector Stakeholders Forum with representatives from the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Nigerian Police, Nigerian Prisons, etc. It is headed by the Chief Judge of Lagos State.

This forum discusses policy issues in relation to the Criminal Justice Sector and proffers solutions in resolving challenges and other issues in relation to investigation, prosecution, judicial proceedings and prison congestion. It also provides an opportunity to informally resolve any outstanding relevant issues amongst all the various stakeholders in the Criminal Justice Sector.

Sexual Offence Unit

A Sexual Offence Unit was created to monitor the prosecution of Sexual Offences in the State. The Sexual Offence Unit has been diligent in the prosecution of sexual offence cases and its first recorded judgment in the sexual offences Court is the case of The State of Lagos vs Gabriel Obinna & 2 others, where one of the Defendants pleaded guilty to the charge of defilement upon arraignment and was sentenced to sixty (60) years imprisonment by Honourable Justice Nwaka.

Legal Advice Review Unit

A Legal Advice Review Unit has been set up to review Legal Advice issued by the Directorate where the need arises.

Crime Data Register

The Crime Data Register has continued to assist and enable the Directorate monitor cases between the Police force, Prisons and the Ministry of Justice.

United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (Unodc) Ngav 18 Justice Reform Sector

The UNODC NGAV 18 Justice Reform Sector is a United Nations Agency. In its effort to support the Justice Sector in Nigeria, it has picked 10 States as their pilot states, Lagos State being one of them. The Ministry of Justice is one of the Stakeholders amongst others who are the Judiciary, the Police, The Prisons, Nigerian Bar Association, NGO’s, etc.

Collaboration Between Nigerian Prison Fellowship And Ministry Of Justice On Restorative Justice Initiative

As part of efforts to overcome Prison congestion and ensuring accelerated hearing for minor offences, the Ministry of Justice and Prison Fellowship has embarked on collaboration to explore the adoption of restorative justice measures as part of sentencing options for designated relevant offences. This will eliminate the excessive use of prison sentences for minor offences and assess the feasibility of Restorative Justice Options rather than imprisonment.

Collaboration with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and UNICEF

The European Union under agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria is funding a project: Support to the Justice Sector in Nigeria 2013 – 2017. The project is jointly implemented by UNICEF and UNODC. UNICEF is implementing the child justice aspects of the project and they have shown interest to collaborate with this Directorate in furtherance to their goals.

3.1.2   Directorate of Civil Litigation (DCL)

The Directorate is responsible for instituting and defending Civil actions involving the State Government, its Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

In the period under review, the DCL has defended several matters in the State High Courts, Federal High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

The Ministry through its Directorate of Civil Litigation recorded a total number of 61 concluded cases out of which 38 Rulings/Judgements were delivered while 23 matters were struck out in favour of the State.

A good example of landmark civil cases delivered in favour of the State in the period under review is the case of National Inland Waterways v. Lagos State Government & Others delivered on 18th July, 2017 where the Court of Appeal held that the Lagos State House of Assembly is competent to make laws in respect of intra-inland waterways in Lagos State.

3.1.3   Office of the Public Defender (OPD)

The Office of the Public Defender (OPD) is saddled with the major responsibility of providing legal aid and other related functions to the masses, especially the less privileged and the vulnerable.

In the period under review, the Ministry, through the Office of the Public Defender, received 4,282 petitions, concluded 2,264 while the others are at various stages of review, investigation and conclusion.

The Office through its efforts received the sum of N5,669,927.06k (Five Million Six Hundred and Sixty-Nine Thousand Nine Hundred and Twenty-Seven Naira Six kobo) only on behalf of the Complainants/Petitioners.

It also took up various cases including those of 77 inmates at Badagry Prison, 104 inmates at Kirikiri Prison and 81 inmates at Ikoyi Prisons while five (5) children who were discovered in Ikoyi prison were transferred to appropriate Homes and eventually released from custody.

In addition, to further facilitate easy access to Justice, the Ministry of Justice through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) has continued to firm out Pro Bono matters to private chambers and legal practitioners under the Lagos Public Interest Law Partnership (LPILP) Program in Lagos State. These private chambers take up civil/criminal suits on behalf of LASG and defend/prosecute the said suits for the good of the public free of charge.

3.1.4   Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC)

The Citizens’ Mediation Centre is charged with the responsibility of providing free legal services to residents of the State. The Centre also promotes the use and practice of mediation as an alternative to litigation in conflict resolution amongst the people of Lagos State.

Services rendered by the Centre include matters relating to Landlord/Tenant issues, Employers/Employees disputes, Family Matters (including marital disputes, Child Custody etc). Others are Property Inheritance and Land Matters, Monetary Claims, Local disputes and Commercial laws.

Within the period under review (May, 2017- April, 2018), a total number of 47, 292 new cases came to the Centre. Out of this number, a total of 25, 191 cases resolved with the remainder at various stages of resolution.

The total value of settlement of debt related matters achieved by the Centre during the period under review (May, 2017- April, 2018) as settlement between parties was One Billion, Three Hundred and Fifty-Two Million, Seven Hundred and Forty-Five Thousand, Three Hundred and Ninety-One Naira only (N1, 352, 745, 391).

 3.1.5   Directorate of Commercial Law (DCOMMLAW)

The Commercial Law Directorate handles all legal aspects of the Lagos State Government’s contractual and commercial transactions and these include but not limited to the following:-

  1. Supervision of all Commercial Litigations.
  2. Issuing Legal Advice on Commercial, Company, Investments, Banking and Other Related Matters

iii.       Adviser to LASG on all Commercial Matters

  1. Representing LASG in Court on Commercial and Contractual Matters
  2. Attending meetings and acting as Committee Members and/or Representatives of MDAs on behalf of LASG on all Commercial, Contractual, Investment and other related matters.

In the period under review, a total of 271 (Two hundred and seventy-one) Agreements were drafted. There are also 30 (Thirty) cases pending in court while 40 (Forty) contracts are in the process of termination.

The Limited Partnership Registry within this period registered 7 (Seven) Limited Partnership whilst the Bill of Sale Registry registered 7 (One) Bill of Sale.

In the period under review, the Ministry through the Directorate of Commercial Law generated the sum of N822,171,918.00 (Eight hundred and Twenty-Two Million, One Hundred and Seventy-One Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighteen Naira) only.

3.1.6   Directorate of Citizen’s Rights (DCR)

In the period under review, the Ministry, through its Directorate of Citizen’s Rights (DCR) received a total number of 1308 Petitions out of which 1070 have been resolved with 228 at different stages of resolution.

The Human Rights Protection Unit (HRPU)

The Ministry though the Human Rights Protection Unit of the Directorate  treated a total number of 3,418 (Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Eighteen) cases from May, 2017 to April, 2018.  This figure encompasses cases treated at the Taskforce Unit, Human Rights Violation, and such other matters that affected the integrity and dignity of person’s resident in Lagos State.

Consumer Rights Protection Unit       

The Consumer Rights Protection Unit is saddled with the responsibility of increasing the consumer safety consciousness of citizens in the State and encouraging manufacturers to uphold same.  The Directorate received a total number of 140 (One Hundred and Forty) complaints and petitions.  96(Ninety-six) of the cases were successfully resolved and 34 (Thirty-four) complaints/petitions are still pending or referred to appropriate Ministry, Parastatal or Agency concerned.

Monetary Claims

The Directorate for Citizens’ Rights has over the years attended to indigent residents of Lagos State. The Directorate handled amongst others employer/employee issues, factory injuries and compensation.  A total number of 471 (Four Hundred and Seventy-eight) petitions/complaints were received. 398 (Three Hundred and Seventy-one) of the cases were successfully resolved and 73 (Seventy-three) petitions are still pending or referred to Industrial Court for legal action.

Furthermore, a total sum of N43,417,162.54K (Forty-three Million, Four Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty-Two Naira, Fifty-four Kobo) only has been collected on behalf of complainants by the Directorate till date.

Family Matters

The Directorate settled disputes that border on Marital Issues, Domestic Violence, Maintenance and Inheritance of Property through mediation.  The Directorate handled a total number of 150 matters, 132 were resolved and 18 matters are at different stages of conclusion.

Employee/Employer Matters

The Directorate mediated between employees and employers over wrongful dismissal and non-payment of salaries and entitlement.  A total number of 162 petitions were received, 109 resolved while 53 are at different stages of conclusion.

3.1.7   Administrator-General and Public Trustee (AG&PT)

The Ministry though the Office of Administrator General & Public Trustee, received a total number of 168 petitions and 316 Walk-In Enquiries where free legal services were rendered by seasoned Law Officers of the Ministry.

The Office received and treated 123 death benefit files and paid N53,471,833.28 (Fifty-Three Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Three Naira Twenty-Eight Kobo) only to various beneficiaries of deceased Civil Servants. 49 minors were visited at home and in schools to ensure payment of school fees and their general well-being.

3.1.8   Community Service Unit (CSU)

The Community Service Unit affirms restorative justice as one of its policy objectives and adopts rehabilitation and restoration of the offender as guiding principles for imposing punishment.

The Community Service Officers attend court hearings and recommend community service based sentences to Magistrates for suitable minor offenders, including environmental offences. In addition, the Community Service Field Officers, supervise the offenders ordered to perform community service at suitable Work Placement Centers.

In the period under review, a total number of 2,249 offenders were sentenced to community service for various offences. The sentences were served at various public institutions including Hospitals, Remand Homes, Traffic Management and Market sanitations.

3.1.9   Public Advice Centre (PAC)

The Public Advice Centre (PAC) received and treated a total number of 50,829 petitions during the said review period, from residents in distress seeking advice and help on different issues varying from violation of human rights, child abuse, work benefits and pension, social welfare and child rights, inadequate security, domestic violence, kidnapping, environmental and related matter.

3.1.10 Directorate of Advisory Services (DAS)

The Directorate of Advisory Services and Judicial Liaison is saddled with the responsibility of proffering legal advice on requests from Ministries, Parastatals and other Establishments of the Lagos State Government and on petitions received from private persons, corporate organizations and members of the public amongst others.

The petitions received bother on: Land Disputes, Physical Planning, Illegal Demolition, Unlawful arrest, Trade Union, Unlawful Dismissal and Termination of appointment, Payment of Taxes, Development Levies and Rates to mention few.

During the period under review, about Four Hundred and Eighty Four (484) petitions were received and treated. Presently, the Directorate has about Seventy-Three (73) cases pending at the National Industrial Court.

  • LAW AND ORDER INITIATIVES

3.2.1   Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT)

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) since its establishment has galvanized strategic action and responded appropriately to formal and informal reporting of incidents of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and maltreatment in the State.

DSVRT has thrived on the concerted efforts and synergy of cardinal members of the Team across Lagos State, namely the Nigeria Police, the Ministry of Justice (through Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Office of the Public Defender & Directorate for Citizens’ Rights), Mirabel Centre (the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Nigeria), Ministries of Women Affairs & Poverty Alleviation, Health, Education, and Youth and Social Development, Non-Governmental Organizations and the Media.

The Ministry has noted an increase in report of domestic abuse against men.  To date, the DSVRT has received a total number of 138 cases in this regard. Overall, a total number of 1771 cases were reported during the period under review.

The Team also provided free medical services and psycho-social therapy for over 700 survivors of domestic/sexual violence, conducted capacity building trainings with 220 police officers across the State, and successfully secured the conviction of 7 perpetrators.

The DSVRT launched a 6-month community engagement campaign, to facilitate viral conversations and actions against sexual and gender-based violence at the grassroots.

In commemoration of the Domestic Violence Awareness Month, DSVRT launched the domestic and sexual violence helpline *6820# in October 2017 towards ensuring that survivors and general members of the public receive timely and accurate information in the event of domestic or sexual abuse. Presently, a total of 750 reports have been made using *6820# whilst 80% of usage has been for trial purpose.

3.2.2   Law Enforcement Training Institute (LEITI)

The Institute is saddled with the responsibility of training and conducting workshops for all enforcement agencies in Lagos State.

The Ministry through the Institute has conducted Basic Induction Training Programme for newly recruited 5700 Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps (LNSC); Basic Re-orientation Training Programme for newly rebranded 920 Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps; Basic Induction Training programme for newly recruited 1, 200 LASTMA Officers and 200 VIS Officers and Annual Mandatory In-Service Training for 3550 LASTMA Officers, VIS and LAGESC.

3.2.3   The Lagos State DNA and Forensic Center (LSD&FC)

The DNA and Serology sections of the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Center were commissioned by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos State, in September 2017 to enhance public safety and support criminal investigations.

LSD&FC currently performs DNA and serology testing services to support the Nigerian Police, lawyers and domestic violence and sexual assault response teams.

Since the commissioning, a total of 316 inquiries have been received. The Center currently has over 71 active cases bothering on homicide, rape, toxicology, child trafficking, serology amongst others.

As part of the LSD&FC program, the Lagos State DNA Database (LSDD) and the Lagos State DNA Index System (LSDIS) have been established. This database will allow the curation and storage of authorized DNA profiles for use in fighting crime and criminal investigations.

To ensure that LSD&FC is appreciated and fully leveraged by all stakeholders, specialized enlightenment and training programs have been organized for Judges, Police, Lawyers and Emergency Responders.

 Award of Contract for LSD&FC Phase 2

Following the successful completion of the DNA section Phase 1of the Lagos State DNA & Forensic Centre (LSD&FC) it became necessary to establish other forensic programmes to complement the DNA section and maximise the level of services offered by LSD&FC. In furtherance of this, the State Government approved the establishment of the Forensic Toxicology/Chemistry, General Administration and Perimeter Security Enhancement as Phase 2 of the project.  This phase will involve:

  1. Development and operationalization of the Toxicology and Chemistry disciplines at LSD&FC,
  2. Hardening of the perimeter security to protect personnel and evidence.
  • Establishment of the Centre administration:

This is will expand the ability of LSD&FC to support the police and other stakeholders in the following ways:

  1. Toxicology section: This will allow the testing of human specimens (blood, urine, saliva, tissue, etc.) to check for chemicals, poisons and toxins that may be harmful or responsible for death.
  2. Chemistry section: This will allow the testing of suspicious and controlled substances recovered from individuals or from crime scenes.

3.2.4   Commissioning of New Court buildings

In our drive to ensure that more people in the State are able to access the State machinery for justice delivery, a number new Court Buildings were commissioned namely:

  • Badagry (Olusola Thomas Combined Court Complex) – A building complex comprising of 4 High Courtrooms and 6 Magistrate Courtrooms and other utilities.
  • Ajegunle (Sikiru Adagun Combined Court Complex) – A building complex comprising of 4 High Courtrooms and 6 Magistrate Courtrooms and other utilities.
  • A couple of new Magistrate Courts were also commissioned for Environmental, Road-traffic and allied offences in Oshodi to support the Mobile Court Units, thus ensuring effective and quick dispensation of justice in the metropolis.

3.2.5   Creation of Sexual Offences and Child Justice Unit

The Ministry of Justice through its Directorate of Public Prosecution established the Sexual Offences and Child Justice Unit to ensure timely prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence cases at the newly designated Sexual Offences Court, High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Judicial Division.

3.2.6   Plea Bargain Protocol

The Ministry of Justice recently launched its Plea Bargain Protocol with a view to drive quick and effective resolution of criminal cases and in turn decongests the prisons and Court dockets. The Ministry has since received Fifty- One (51) applications out of which twenty (20) have been approved. The remainder are at different stages of negotiation and resolution. The Ministry has also held several awareness programmes about the plea bargain to inmates in Prisons in the period under review.

3.2.7   Prerogative of Mercy

Forty (40) inmates who had spent between 20 – 34 years in custody were released by His Excellency, The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, based on the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

3.2.8   Lagos Criminal Information System

The Lagos Criminal Information System, also known as Criminal Case Tracking System, was initiated earlier in the year by the Ministry of Justice as a crime data register that serves as a repository of biometric data of persons who have been in contact with the Criminal Justice System.

There are 8,000+ inmates currently being captured in the LCIS database in the Prison, Police and within the Criminal Justice Administration Sector and this include their personal, physical and bio-metric details.

3.2.9   Special Task Force Against Land Grabbers (a.k.a Omoonile Taskforce)

The Lagos State Special Taskforce on Land Grabbers popularly known as ‘Omo Onile Taskforce’ in the period under review received a total number of 1300 petitions out of which over 855 were concluded.  530 petitions are pending and are at various stages of resolution.

Furthermore, in the period under review over 35 arrests of suspected notorious land grabbers were effected and 26 criminal prosecution cases against suspected land grabbers are presently on-going.

3.2.10 E-Real Estate Litigation Database

The Ministry of Justice also launched an E-Real Estate Litigation Database, www.lagoslispendens.com.ng to enhance due diligence in property transactions in the State.

First of its kind in Nigeria, the Electronic Real Estate Litigation Database is designed for the provision of access to information primarily on properties which are is subject of litigation.

Since its launch on 30 January 2018, the portal has recorded over 1,000,000 hits and over 10,000 “unique” or consistent users from Nigeria, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa and others.

3.2.11 The Special Offences (Mobile) Court

This Court since its inauguration as a Mobile Court has contributed immensely to the State Government’s Law and Order objective by significantly reducing street trading, environmental nuisance, traffic congestion and other generally unethical/anti-social behaviour by a minority who had made commuting on our roads and orderliness, as a whole, a nightmare for the majority.

In the year under review, the efficiency of the Mobile Court has been further acknowledged through collaboration with the Nigeria Police, Federal Road Safety Corps, Rapid Response Squad, Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA) and others upon requests by these institutions.

In comparison with the previous year’s figure of 4,426 offenders who were arraigned before the Court, 8,380 offenders were arraigned before the Court in the year under review for offences under the Road Traffic Laws which includes parking on walkway and yellow lines, use of BRT corridor, commuters and conductors hanging on the tailboard of moving vehicle, driving against traffic etc.

The Court has also in the year under review intensified enlightenment of public on the need to observe these simple societal norms which had been codified.

3.3      LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES/LAW REFORM

3.3.1   The Ministry has been very active in legislative initiatives and law reforms. Presently, the Ministry has 32 Bills undergoing drafting process. Some of the Laws are the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Services Bill, Lagos State Public Finance Management Bill, newspaper and Magazines Registration Amendment Bill, Laws Establishing Tertiary Institutions in Lagos State 2017, Lagos State Public Procurement Amendment Bill, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Agency Bill 2017, Lagos State Inland Fisheries Bill, Lagos State Education Trust Fund Bill, Data Protection Law, Amendment to Child Rights Law 2017 and Organ Transplantation Law 2017.

Furthermore, in the period under review, 62 Executive Bills were initiated before the House of Assembly while 16 Executive Bills were passed into Law. Some of the Bills passed into Law were the Lagos State Teaching Service Commission Bill 2018, Lagos State College of Nursing (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Public Health) Law 2018, Lagos State Electric Power Sector Reform Bill 2018 and the Hotel and Restaurant Consumption (Fiscalization) Regulations 2018.

  • NOTABLE LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES/LAW REFORMS
  1. Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law

This Law harmonized all laws on environmental matters in the State, namely: Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) Law, Cap. L27; Environmental Sanitation Law, Cap. E6; Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) Law, Cap. L74; Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) Law, Cap. L65; and Lagos State Parks and Garden Agency (LSPGA), Cap. L51 Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.

The Law reconciled areas of conflicts and minimized overlaps in the performance of functions by Agencies in the State Environment Sector.

A key innovation in the Law is the establishment of the Public Utilities Monitoring and Assurance Unit (PUMAU) the Ministry of the Environment. The establishment of PUMAU has streamlined the modalities of billing, revenue, and enforcement of tariff.

The Environmental Sanitation Corps Agency established under the harmonized Environmental Law is solely responsible for enforcement activities thereby removing duplicity and exposing citizens to incidences of  uncontrolled enforcement

  1. Lagos State Electric Power Sector Reform Law

The Law is a review of the draft Lagos State Embedded Power Bill, the extant Lagos State Electricity Board Law of 1980 (Cap.L25 Laws of Lagos State, 2015) and subsisting Federal enactments. The reform aims at enhancing power generation and distribution in the State; achieving power security and sustainability of the power sector.

Power theft which constituted one of the major challenges militating against sustainable power generation and distribution in the country was given prominence with the introduction of penal provisions to serve as deterrence.

iii.       Lagos State Transport Sector Reform Law

This Bill harmonized all transportation laws in the State and the Ministry through the Legislative Drafting Directorate collaborated with relevant agencies in the transport sector to ensure passage of the bill into Law

Apart from eliminating areas of conflict and overlap of functions, the harmonization also sought to cure ambiguities in the extant laws. Through the Transport Sector Law, innovative policy initiatives of the State Government were granted required legal framework. The policy initiatives given legal backing under the Law include-

(i)      Bus Reform Programme

(ii)      Role of the Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL)

iii)       Parking Authority

(iv)     Implementation of waterways transportation initiative through partnership with the Lagos State Ferry Services Limited (LAGFERRY).

Introduction of data capture and biometrics of all traffic offenders is novel and will assist the State in keeping accurate records of all traffic related offenders within a given period of time.

The Ministry of Transportation is vested with the responsibility for the overall management and supervision of all the Agencies in the transport sector to promote synergy and efficiency

  1. Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption (Installation of Software and Hardware) Regulations

The Regulations seek to drive better compliance with the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law, through automation. The installation of electronic device provided under the Regulations will ensure effective monitoring of transactions in hospitality facilities and relates centres.

The power to make Regulation for installation of the electronic device to drive the collection of revenue due to the State is contained in Section 9 of the Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Law.

4.0      HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY ACHIEVEMENTS THE LAST TWO YEARS

4.1       Online Access to Laws of Lagos State

The Lagos State Ministry of Justice has created a web portal where all Laws and Regulations of Lagos State are available online. The dedicated web portal – http: laws.lagosstate.gov.ng is regularly updated with all new laws and regulations as they are passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Since the launch of the portal, it has recorded an average of 100,000 user hits every month and over 10,000 downloads of the Laws of Lagos State. It has recorded hits from Nigeria, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, China, Germany, Russia and many other countries. Top on the list of most downloaded Laws in the last 12 months is Road Traffic Law, Child Rights Law, Anti-Kidnapping Law and Property Rights Protection Law.

  • Establishment of West Africa’s first DNA and Forensic Centre

A much needed forensic approach to the fight against crime and case resolutions in Lagos State is now within our immediate reach with the establishment of West Africa’s first DNA and Forensic Centre by the Lagos State Government.

  • Giant Strides by the Task Force Against Land Grabbers

The Lagos State Task Force against Land Grabbers has continued to pursue its mandate with several arrest and prosecution of suspected notorious land grabbers.

  • Plea Bargain Protocol

The introduction and utilization of the Plea Bargain Protocol has assisted in fast tracking prosecution by reducing the time spent on criminal cases towards achieving Prison and Court decongestion.

  • Child/Juvenile Justice Administration

Child Justice Centre created under the Directorate of Citizens Rights has continued to improve on its gains with at least 90 mothers whose under-aged children were taken away from them illegally during family feuds gaining back custody. 47 of those children were rescued from physical abuse, while 5 children who were discovered in Ikoyi Prison have been released. 128 more minors from Kirikiri and Badagry Prisons were freed in conjunction with efforts of the Judiciary.

  • Establishment of an Electronic Real Estate Litigation Database

Establishment of an Electronic Real Estate Litigation Database, www.lagoslispendens.com.ng to enhance due diligence in property transactions in the State.

  • Harmonization of Environmental and Transport Sector Laws

Environmental Laws in the State were harmonised and incorporated under one law known as Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law, 2017 while laws in the transport sector were also harmonization and now known as Transport Sector Reform Law, 2018.

  • Commissioning of New Court buildings

In our drive to ensure that more people in the State are able access the State machinery for justice delivery, a number new Court Buildings were commissioned namely:

  1. Badagry (Olusola Thomas Combined Court Complex),
  2. Ajegunle (Sikiru Adagun Combined Court Complex) and
  • a couple of new Magistrate Courts for Environmental, Road-Traffic and Allied Offences in Oshodi to support the Mobile Court Units, thus ensuring effective and quick dispensation of justice in the metropolis.
    • Provision of Free Legal Services/ Dispute Resolution Services

The Ministry of Justice has through the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Directorate of Citizens Mediation Centre, Directorate of Citizens’ Rights and Public Advice Centre has continued to render free mediation and other legal services to indigents in the State and this has greatly assisted in the decongestion of Courts cases in the past three years.

4.10   Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit

This Ministry in collaboration with the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) in fulfilment of its mission to ensure tax payers comply with tax laws, filed 327 cases at the High Courts and Magistrate Courts. Through the Rapid Tax Prosecution Unit set up to prosecute tax defaulters and LIRS, a total sum of N 107,432,862 (One Hundred and Seven Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Two Thousand, Eight Hundred and Sixty Two Naira) was generated for the Lagos State Government.

4.11    Public Awareness

The Ministry has continued to take various steps in creating awareness to members of the public in respect of its services and how best these services can be accessed. In the past one year, we have had over 162 press releases, featured articles and news stories. On television and radio, representatives of the Ministry have made 114 appearances while a total of 76 courtesy visits, departmental and joint legal clinics were embarked upon.

4.12    Domestic & Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT)

The Ministry of Justice, through the Domestic & Sexual Violence Response Team (popularly known as DSVRT) has continued to improve strategic action against the increasingly rampant incidents of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and maltreatment in the State.

4.13    Creation of Sexual Offences and Child Justice Unit

The Ministry of Justice through its Directorate of Public Prosecution established the Sexual Offences and Child Justice Unit to ensure timely prosecution of sexual and gender-based violence cases at the newly designated Sexual Offences Court, High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja Judicial Division.

 4.14    Plea Bargain Protocol

The Ministry of Justice recently launched its Plea Bargain Protocol with a view to drive quick and effective resolution of criminal cases and in turn decongest the prisons and Court dockets.

4.15    Prerogative of Mercy

Forty (40) inmates who had spent between 20 – 34 years in custody were released by His Excellency, The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, based on the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy.

4.16    Community Service

Through its Community Service Unit, offenders sentenced to community service have been made to serve at various public institutions including Hospitals, Remand Homes, Traffic Management and Market sanitations in an effort to complement the existing efforts to decongest our prisons.

4.17    Lagos Criminal Information System

The Lagos Criminal Information System also known as Criminal Case Tracking System has since been expanded in the past year and renamed the Lagos Criminal Information System (LCIS).

There are 8,000+ inmates currently being captured in the LCIS database in the Prison, Police and within the Criminal Justice Administration Sector and this include their personal, physical and bio-metric details.

4.18    E-Real Estate Litigation Database

The Ministry of Justice also launched an E-Real Estate Litigation Database, www.lagoslispendens.com.ng to enhance due diligence in property transactions in the State.

First of its kind in Nigeria, the Electronic Real Estate Litigation Database is designed to provide ease of access to information to anyone who wants to deal in a property with information primarily on whether the property is subject of litigation.

4.19    Special Offences (Mobile) Court

The Special Offences (Mobile) Court has continued to contribute to the efforts of the State Government by significantly reducing street trading, traffic congestion and unethical/anti-social conducts on the roads as well as environmental nuisances thereby improving the socio-economic well-being of the residents of Lagos State.

Since it began operations in March, 2016, several offenders have been arraigned and prosecuted before Mobile Court. The Court has also embarked on series of enlightenment campaigns to make residents aware of the need to obey traffic rules and keep the environment safe and secure.

4.20    Criminal Suspect Forms

Over 750,000 criminal suspect forms were handed over to the Lagos State Police Command on behalf of the Lagos State Government. This was aimed at bringing about ease of justice delivery and aid in quick record keeping of criminals in the State.

  1. Conclusion

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, detailed in this briefing are some of the accomplishments of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice during the period under review. The efforts of our various Directorates, Agencies and Units have been focused on ease of access to justice, security, effective protection of life & property, provision of information, public awareness amongst other goals. I must therefore acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of each and every staff member of the Ministry of Justice.

I must especially mention that the support of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has been critical to reaching our accomplishments. His Excellency not only gave us a vision to work with, he also inspired and allowed us the latitude for initiatives to drive our goals, gave us a listening ear every time we turned to him, responded with the swiftness required to achieve our objectives and facilitated each and every step with all the support that we needed from him. We therefore wish to express our profound gratitude on behalf of the Management and Staff of the Ministry.

As we forge ahead, I feel confident to convey the assurances of His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode’s continued support and commitment towards the attainment of effective justice delivery, security and good governance in Lagos State.

I thank you all for your attention.

Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko lo je wa logun.

Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kazeem Adeniji; Mr. Idowu Ajanaku; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information; Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy at the Ministry of Justice Ministerial Press Briefing, held at the Press Centre, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kazeem Adeniji; Mr. Idowu Ajanaku; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information; Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy at the Ministry of Justice Ministerial Press Briefing, held at the Press Centre, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.                                                                              
SG/PS, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami moving the vote of thanks at the Ministry of Justice, Ministerial Press Briefing, held on Thursday, April 9, 2018 at Bagauda Kaltho, Alausa, Ikeja.
SG/PS, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami moving the vote of thanks at the Ministry of Justice, Ministerial Press Briefing, held on Thursday, April 9, 2018 at Bagauda Kaltho, Alausa, Ikeja.

Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kazeem Adeniji; Mr. Idowu Ajanaku; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information; Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy at the Ministry of Justice Ministerial Press Briefing, held at the Press Centre, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

Solicitor-General/ Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Funlola Odunlami; Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kazeem Adeniji; Mr. Idowu Ajanaku; Special Adviser to the Governor on Information; Mrs. Kofoworola Awobamise, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy at the Ministry of Justice Ministerial Press Briefing, held at the Press Centre, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

PRESENTED BY

 MR. ADENIJI KAZEEM

THE LAGOS STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND COMMSSONER FOR JUSTICE

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