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Oyo state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde has conferred Justice of the Peace awards on 400 distinguished citizens, including the deputy governor of Oyo state, Barr. Adebayo Lawal, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubamiwo Adeosun, the Special Adviser on Political Matters, Babs Oduyoye, and 397 others.

The honour which extends to Royal fathers, Muslim leaders, and noteworthy stakeholders, also features an award in appreciation of their public services in the state.

The award was given to the recipients on Wednesday at the House of Chiefs in Agodi Secretariat, Ibadan, by the governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barrister Bayo Lawal.

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According to reports, this is the first of its kind in Oyo State when a good number of people are appreciated with JP awards.

While extending his congratulations to the recipients, Makinde emphasised the symbolic nature of the event and its importance, pointing out that justice and peace are the cornerstones of democracy and good governance, and that they unquestionably reflect the values which his administration upholds.

He stated that without peace, there can be no peace and without peace, there will be no society which has made the government think it fit to partner with men and women of honour across the state, in its efforts to bring the dividends of democracy closer to the people.

In his words: “About 400 men and women have been identified as keepers of peace and they are being commissioned to assist in sustaining peace in their respective communities.

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“Historically, the conferment of noble men with the title ‘JUSTICE’ of PEACE’ emanated from England around the 11th Century when it became imperative for the king to appoint men, then known as “Keepers of Peace” to ward off disorderly association within localities and also help in enforcing some laws. With time, they were required to be men of Reputation and appointed to preside over felonies alongside other men who are learned in the law.

“At this point, these men of reputation worked with magistrates who were able to assist them in the application of the law to issues that came before them. They were never required to be lawyers even though they perform functions relating to the law. They were, however, required to apply the law in determining the offences that were brought before them. By the 13th Century, they were known as Justice of Peace and they became saddled with multifarious administrative and judicial duties. Essentially, they kept the peace and were able to help the king to administer the law throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom”, he added.

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The governor, who maintained that people who don’t know their functions often misbehave as they don’t know the limit, the beginning of their powers, and the end of their powers, quickly referred them to page 14 of their quotes which speaks about the function and duties and page 35 which tells about the code of conduct and peace.

“Your duties as a Justice of the Peace must be performed with utmost care because you are now a partner on governance with the state government in your various communities. You are being empowered to provide specified administrative and judicial functions which form part of everyday living and which may not be readily accessible in your communities. Therefore, to whom much is given, much is expected. Your activities in your communities should bring respite.

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“As a government, our determination is to raise more responsible citizens who obey the law and perform their civic duties without having to be compelled. Your presence in your communities as Justices of Peace should help in achieving this.

“I must also mention that with this award comes some rights, privileges, and responsibilities, government will therefore not take any infraction lightly.

“On this note, I congratulate you on this well-deserved honour. With your cooperation, we shall have a peaceful and just society,” he said.

In the meantime, Alhaja Ololade Agboola, the Head of Service in Oyo; Professor Oyewo, the Commissioner for Justice; the Commissioner for Environment, Hon Abiodun Oni; the royal fathers, Muslim and Christian clerics, and other well-wishers were all present at the event.

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