Lagos Judiciary Holds Valedictory Court Session In Honour Of Late Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori

 Lagos Judiciary Holds Valedictory Court Session In Honour Of Late Justice Samuel Omotunde Ilori

The Lagos State Judiciary has held an honorary Valedictory Court session for the ninth Chief Judge of the State, late Justice Samuel Ilori, at the premises of the Ikeja High Court.

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

Alogba, 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.

In his contribution, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), said Ilori had a stellar career at the State Ministry of Justice where he served for 11 years.

Onigbanjo, who spoke through Ms. Titilayo Shitta-Bey, the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary of the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, also extolled Ilori’s meritorious service as a judge.

His words: “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”.

Also speaking, 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.

He said: “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 added.

A representative of the Body of Senior of Nigeria, Mrs. Abimbola Williams-Akinjide (SAN), described herself as a former classmate of the deceased at the Nigerian Law School Class of 1964, noting 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 the 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 glowing tributes, one of the children of the deceased, Ms. Oluwakemi Ilori expressed gratitude to everyone on behalf of the family.

According to her: “Her Father 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 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.

The late Justice Samuel Ilori, who passed away on October 12, 2021, 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 and retired from the Bench on January 5, 1999.

Ilori, the first Chief Judge to introduce the electronic recording of courtroom proceedings in Nigeria, was honoured by the former Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on May 12, 2015 with the naming of the Magistrate Court in Ogba after him. He was the first former Chief Judge to be honoured by the Lagos State Government while alive.


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