Judges beg Makinde to revive customary courts
Some Judges of the Oyo State Customary Court of Appeal, have appealed to Governor Seyi Makinde to re-constitute Grade ‘C’ Customary Courts urgently across the state.
They said it has become expedient so that all pending applications/appeals before the Courts can be resuscitated and dealt with.
According to them, for as long as those courts remained unconstitutional, common men at the grassroots level would be denied easy, quick and less expensive access to justice.
Speaking in Ibadan at a Special Court Session held to honour the outgoing acting President of the Oyo State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Abimbola Olatunji-Daniel, she said the grade ‘C’ Customary Courts are grassroots Courts that are closest to the people.
She added that many land cases in rural areas and a large percentage of matrimonial and child custody matters and other matters are handled by these courts.
She said: “Customary Courts Grade ‘C’ have been disbanded for two years now. We have over 690 Grade ‘C’ Customary Courts all over the state and a great deal of the appeals and applications comes to this Court.
“I will pray for their reconstitution as soon as possible so that all the pending applications/appeal can be resuscitated and dealt with.”
The retiring judge also urged the state governor to appoint legal practitioners to head the Grade ‘C’ Customary Courts, saying that the courts are still being manned by a layman.
“The 21st century is very fast and artificial intelligence has been employed in all spheres. Our state is ripe to amend our Customary Courts Laws to accommodate learned personnel to head our Grade ‘C’ Customary Courts,” she said.
In his remark, Justice Tajudeen Abdulganiyu of the Oyo State Customary Court of Appeal noted that Grade ‘C’ Customary courts are closest to the people at the local level.
He said: “According to the Supreme Court in the case of Onwuama vs Ezeokili (2002) 5 NWLR (Part 706) Page 353, the rationale for creating the customary courts is the need to make administration of justice available to the common man in a simple, cheap and uncomplicated form.”
He, however, congratulated Justice Olatunji-Daniel on her 65th birthday and disengagement from the judiciary after a successful and rewarding career.