August 11, 2014 – Lagos State House of Assembly has confirmed the appointment of Hon. Justice Oluwafunmilayo Olajumoke Atilade as the new Chief Judge of Lagos State.
Atilade, 62, was confirmed on the floor of the House on Monday. She is replacing her elder sister, Justice Ayotunde Phillips who has retired as Chief Judge of Lagos State.
Ruling on the motion of her confirmation, Speaker of the House, Adeyemi Ikuforiji directed the Clerk to convey the message of confirmation to Governor Babatunde Fashola .
Meanwhile, the new Chief Judge has promised to request of the governor, at least 50 new High Court Judges to help fast-track judicial processes in the State.
Atilade was recommended by the Lagos State Government following the retirement of Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips.
Atilade was called to the bar after concluding her Law School programme in 1975-76, spending half of her life in the service of Lagos State. She has been a Magistrate for 30 years and Judge since 1996.
Standing before the lawmakers, Atilade described self as “a child of destiny” to have become the next most senior Judge in rank after her elder sister.
Atilade recalled that there were six judges between herself and retired Justice Philips when she was appointed as Judge in 1996.
She promised to ensure that cases are expedited during her tenure, Atilade informed the House that there are delays in judicial processes partly due to inadequate Judges in Lagos State.
She said current Judges in Lagos High Court are over-worked considering the enormous work before state judiciary, and that she would request 50 additional Judges upon appointmen. If her request is granted, the addition will bring total number of Judges in the state to about 100.
Atilade was, however, corrected by Ikuforiji that, via the constitution, it is the duty of the Legislative arm of government – Lagos Assembly – to determine the number of Justices in the State High Court.
Atilade, who was accompanied to the Assembly by a dozen of Judges and scores of state judiciary workers, recalled that her most memorable judgment was one involving current Osun State governor, Rauf Aregbesola when the latter was illegally arrested by the police and detained in Panti in 2007.
Atilade had ordered Aregbesola’s release, awarding a compensation of N10m. She said: “All cases are though important to me, but that was more memorable, considering the fact that N10m was much more a huge sums of money at that time,” Atilade said.
She appealed for better working relationship between the Assembly and the judiciary, for a successful tenure.