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Mobile court not for revenue generation, says ministry


Mobile court

The Lagos State ministry of justice yesterday said the Lagos mobile court was not set up to generate funds for the state. Reacting to a publication in the newspapers (not The Guardian), the ministry said the report raised concerns and presented unsubstantiated facts about the operations of the courts.

According to the Deputy Director, Public Affairs, of the ministry, Kayode Oyekanmi, the agency said while it appreciates public criticisms, which serve as an evaluation mechanism for improved service delivery, it frowns at narratives that misrepresent its activities and processes.

“The Special Offences (Mobile) Court was established by the state government in 2016 to address identified societal challenges rather than a revenue-generating venture as erroneously insinuated in the publication.

Recently, the governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, pronounced that his government will ensure traffic orderliness through advocacy and enforcement of the extant Laws of the State on traffic particularly the Road Traffic Law, Ch. R5 and the Special Offences Court Law, Ch. S8, both of Volume 9, Laws of Lagos State.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Special Offences Court has clearly stipulated proceedings and its procedures are certainly in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, particularly on the principle of fair hearing. As a standard procedure, the charge is read to the defendant and his plea taken to determine the course of the case. If he pleads guilty, he may at the discretion of the presiding Magistrate be convicted. It is important to note that non-custodial sentences are prominent in deserving cases as well as the options of fines rather than imprisonment.”

Oyekanmi stated that the fines and penalties for infractions are clearly stipulated in the Laws of the State, adding that it is unfortunate to misconstrue fines as revenue-driven rather than as a corrective process for the erring individual.

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