The Lagos State Judiciary on Wednesday held a honorary Valedictory Session for the ninth Chief Judge of the State, Late Justice Samuel Ilori, at the premises of the Ikeja High Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ilori, who passed away on Oct. 12, was also the fourth Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution and the fifth Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
He became the ninth Chief Judge of Lagos State in 1997, retired from the Bench on Jan. 5, 1999, and was the first Chief Judge to introduce the electronic recording of courtroom proceedings in Nigeria.
Honouring Ilori, the former Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on May 12, 2015 named the Magistrate Court in Ogba after him.
He was the first former Chief Judge to be honoured by Lagos State while still alive.
The Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Kazeem Alogba, said at the valedictory session that the late Ilori would be sorely missed by the legal community, especially past and present judges of Lagos state.
Alogba, who was represented by Justice Toyin Oyekan-Abdullahi, the Admin Judge of the Lagos Division of the Lagos State High Court, described the deceased as a reformer and a very good mentor to the judiciary.
The Attorney-General of Lagos state, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), said Ilori had a sterling career at the Ministry of Justice where he served for 11-years.
Onigbanjo who was represented by Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, also described Ilori’s meritorious service as a judge as excellent.
“In his 16 years of service as a judge, no one left his court with any doubt that they received substantial justice according to the law.
“Under his leadership as the ninth Chief Judge of Lagos, the Lagos Judiciary remained a pacesetter with the introduction of verbatim court recording machines to enhance efficient justice delivery,” he said.
A retired justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour representing the Body of Benchers at the occasion, described the late Ilori was an accomplished jurist.
“I learnt a lot from him. I joined him at the Lagos High Court as a judge and became the last Chief Judge of Lagos State of the last century.
“While his lordship was the Chief Judge, he was a respected jurist and administrator.
“One outstanding feature of his lordship when presiding was his calmness, patience, attention to detail of evidence and cases before him.
“The Lagos State Law Reports are replete with his judgments.Today we celebrate a life well spent,” Rhodes-Vivour said.
A representative of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mrs Abimbola Williams-Akinjide (SAN) described herself as former classmate of the deceased at the Nigerian Law School class of 1964.
She noted that Ilori had a distinguished 30-year career in public and private service and was very active in legal practice after his retirement as a judge.
“He must have had law in his DNA, he fathered 11 children, five of whom read law and two became judges; Justice Olusola Williams and Justice Yemisi Adelaja,” she said.
Responding to the tributes, a daughter of the deceased Ms Oluwakemi Ilori expressed gratitude on behalf of the family.
“He lived a life that he thoroughly enjoyed; his life was an inspiration to us his children. My father would have succeeded in any profession that he chose. He was a very thorough, meticulous and brilliant.
“We miss him dearly, he instilled values in us that made us appreciate what it is to live a worthy life.
“We are mourning but we are so blessed to have such a fantastic man as our father,” she said. (NAN)