ETI-OSA BAR FORUM WRITES OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR SANWO-OLU , CALLS FOR URGENT MEASURES TO CURB SPREAD OF COVID-19 WITHIN ETI-OSA JURISDICTION AND HANDOVER OF ETI-OSA HIGH COURT BUILDING TO LAGOS STATE JUDICIARY FOR REMOTE HEARING OF CASES

The Eti-Osa Bar Forum has written an Open Letter to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu.

The letter dated 25th April, 2020 signed by Oladotun Hassan and Ayo Ademiluyi , Chairman and Secretary of the Eti-Osa Bar Forum respectively and made available to the press appreciated the commissioning of the Christopher Segun High Court Building , Eti-Osa at Addo- Badore Road, Ajah, Lagos State in December, 2019 by the Governor .

The letter called for the formal handover of the High Court Building, Eti-Osa to the Lagos State Judiciary in order for the business of administration of justice to commence in earnest.

The Forum notified the Governor of the subsisting application of the Forum for a Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association within its jurisdiction to the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association.

The letter called for the designation of the Eti-Osa High Court Building as Eti-Osa Division of the High Court of Lagos State.

The letter welcomed the recent approval of 8 (Eight) Justices of the High Court of Lagos State by the National Judicial Council. The letter called on the Governor to swiftly swear in the new Judges and for the assignment of Judges to the High Court Building, Eti-Osa for commencement of adjudication of cases in our jurisdiction.

The letter raised the fact that the Forum is not unaware of the challenges thrown up by the outbreak of the highly contagious novel Coronavirus disease, which has created a national and global pandemic.

The letter submitted :

” It is on this wise that we welcome the issuance of Practice Directions for Remote Hearing of Cases by the Honourable Chief Judge of Lagos State, Honourable Justice Kazeem Alogba.

We call for increased procurement of Information Technology equipment for the Lagos State Judiciary. We call for commencement of adjudication of cases at the High Court Building, Eti-Osa with deployment of information technology for remote hearing of cases.

As our contribution to the battle against COVID-19, we have set up a Special Taskforce against the Spread of Coronavirus. The Taskforce has among its aims Security support, Healthcare support, Food and essential supplies support, Prison decongestion , Criminal Justice Assistance and Legal Aid and Human Rights Support.

The Taskforce is currently working with Area “J” Police Command Headquarters, within our jurisdiction. It has also made visits to the Sample Collection Site and Emergency Operation Centre, Ikota in Eti-Osa Local Government Area.

It also paid visit to the Eti-Osa Local Government Area Secretariat , where it made earnest calls for situating more Isolation and Test Centers in Eti-Osa Local Government(Within 4 LCDA’s).

It is in this wise that we appreciate Your Excellency for the recent commissioning of the 70-bed Testing Centre and 30 Intensive Care Units in Eti-Osa Local Government at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Eti-Osa Local Government Area on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020.

Given the fact that Eti-Osa Local Government continue to be one of the local government areas with high number of cases of COVID-19 , we are of the view that more action is required to stop the spread of Coronavirus in our jurisdiction.

It is in this wise that we are of the view that the institutional capacity to contain the spread of the dreaded disease needs to be expanded by partnering with private health institutions, including but not limited to Private Tertiary Care Services providers and Private Specialised Diagnostic Centres, especially for primary diagnosis.

We are also worried at the directive of the Presidential Taskforce against COVID-19 that private health institutions should not handle any form of medical attention to COVID-19 cases , including diagnosis, hence our request through your good office to Mr President for an urgent review and panacea in this respect.

We call on the Lagos State Government to work with Hoteliers to yield their Hotels over as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centre with procurement of more testing equipment as the 80-bed Testing and Isolation Centre will become inadequate at the growing curve of COVID-19 cases.

We call on Your Excellency to appeal to well-meaning individuals , who are owners of unoccupied buildings in Lagos State, particularly within the jurisdiction of the Forum to wit, Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Areas to partner with Lagos State Government for use of such buildings as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centre in order to create more capacity for tests and Isolation.

We also call on Your Excellency to urgently direct the renovation and upgrading of the Old Lagos State School of Nursing Building at Awolowo Road, Ikoyi within Eti-Osa Local Government Area into a Tertiary Care Centre for COVID-19 cases.

We also call on Your Excellency to appeal to Mr President to urgently direct the renovation and upgrading of the abandoned Federal Secretariat and other Federal Government buildings in Ikoyi into a National COVID-19 Care Centre given that Lagos State has the highest number of COVID-19 cases as well as the fact that Eti-Osa Local Government Area has one of the local government areas in Nigeria with the highest cases of COVID-19.

We also call on Your Excellency to provide support to the Vigilante Committees and other local security outfits that have emerged across Lagos State both morally and financially, in order to strengthen security operations and administration during the ongoing period of lockdown. We are of the view that it is only a solid collaboration between the Vigilante Committees and the state security apparatus is most potent panacea to repel relentless bandit attacks across Lagos state.

We also call for expansion of Food and essential supplies distribution in Lagos State in general and our jurisdiction in particular. We are of the view that the Food Centre set up by Lagos State Government at Falomo , Ikoyi is grossly inadequate for the food challenges faced by people during this period of lockdown.

Consequently, we advise for an enlarge food bank, wherein poor and vulnerable citizens can have easy access to abundant food supply, with a strong collaboration with staple food merchants and other critical stakeholders across the state.

We also call on Your Excellency to set up a Joint
Prison Decongestion Committee made up of the Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner of Justice with the Chief Judge of Lagos State to work with the Federal Ministry of Interior to decongest the prisons in Lagos State and notably Ikoyi Prisons, which is within our jurisdiction , with all the attendant health challenges during the lockdown.

We call on Your Excellency to put up restrictive lockdown rules, procedures and mechanisms for Lagosians, whereas we call for an urgent restrain by the Lagos State Special Offences Taskforce under the Lagos State Command of the Nigerian Police Force to exercise commensurate restraint in the enforcement of the lockdown and respect the fundamental rights of citizens during this lockdown.

We look forward to positive consideration of our appeal . We remain grateful in anticipation”

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