Ninth Lagos Chief Judge, Ilori, honoured in valedictory service

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The Lagos State Judiciary, on Wednesday, held a honorary Valedictory Court Session for the late Chief Judge of the State, Justice Samuel Olatunde Ilori, at the premises of the Ikeja High Court.

Ilori, who passed away on October 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 in 1997, retired from the Bench on January 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, 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 the Lagos State while still alive.

Speaking, the Lagos State Chief Judge, Kazeem Alogba, said that the late Ilori will be sorely missed by the legal community especially past and present judges of Lagos.

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 (A-G) of Lagos, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), said Ilori had a stellar 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 of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, also described Ilori’s meritorious service as a judge.

“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,” the A-G said.

A retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, representing the Body of Benchers at the occasion, said that 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 he 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 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 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.

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