VP Osinbajo calls for Judicial Reforms, saying Justice must address economic, social rights of people

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says an effective synergy among the three arms of government including representatives of the legal profession would be a useful approach to confront the urgently required reform of Nigeria’s administration of justice system, and such collaboration is in the works.

The VP said this on Saturday at the virtual edition of the Wole Olanipekun & Co (WOC) Justice Summit.

The summit themed “Developing an Institutional Concept of Justice in Nigeria” featured prominent speakers including, the convener, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN; Prof. Fidelis Oditah, QC, SAN; Mr Yemi Candide-Johnson, SAN; notable economist, Prof. Pat Utomi; and a prominent lawyer from the UK, Brie Stevens-Hoare, QC, among others.

According to the Vice President, “I think it is important for us to sit together – the leadership of the profession, the executive, the judiciary and the legislature, to take a second look at some of these issues.”

Prof. Osinbajo said the collaboration to get the reform going should also include states, saying, “working together, the sub-nationals and the federal government and their judiciaries, we can make a fundamental change.

This is obviously a matter that we must take seriously and address, not just as professionals but we must involve all the arms of government.” Continuing, the Vice President said “because of the kind of system that we run, the reform of the Justice System is many-sided. It can’t be done by one segment. It cannot be done by the executive alone, it cannot be done by the judiciary alone, and it certainly cannot be done by the legislature alone.

“There is a need for us to appreciate that it is a many-sided thing, complicated and we have to simply look for ways to work together. I am seeing that critical mass of individuals in the legal profession, in the executive and also in the judiciary who are willing to reform. We are working quite hard to see how we can all come together to make a real change.”

The Vice President noted that “the big question is also the relevance of our paradigms of justice to the major socio-economic circumstances that confront us. The law is a social construct and makes sense only within a social context.

To treat the law as something apart from society, or as a body of technical abstractions is to strip it of meaning and to alienate the legal order from the very people it is meant to serve.

The WOC Justice Summit was moderated by Mr Bode Olanipekun, SAN, the Managing Partner of Wole Olanipekun Chambers.

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