Court orders security personnel to allocate parking space to persons with disabilities
Justice Ibrahim Bubba of the Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday ordered security personnel of the court to allocate car parking space to persons living with disabilities.
The judge also apologized to a human rights lawyer and president of the Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria, Daniel Onwe, who arrived the court yesterday to handle a matter before Justice Hassan but was frustrated by lack of parking space at the general parking lot.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State government had passed the Lagos Special People’s Law in 2012, mandating all public institutions in the state to designate a parking spot for people with disabilities.
Onwe on getting to the court was being directed in vain from one end of the parking lot to the other by the security men because there is no reserved parking lot for persons with disabilities at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.
Onwe was made to spend a long time driving round and round the court vicinity in search of a place to park within his peculiar walking distance to the court premises to no avail.
Meanwhile, he was running out of time as Justice Hassan had started sitting and his (Onwe’s) matter could be called any time.
In frustration, Onwe parked his car at the Judges’ gate and left for the court to attend to his matter, defying protests by the security men in charge. When Onwe was done with his matter and came out of the courtroom, he was sternly informed by security men that Justice Buba wanted to see the lawyer who parked the car.
In response, Onwe went straight to Justice Buba’s court upstairs, accompanied by a security man. And Justice Buba, who was still sitting, on sighting Onwe, directed him to step forward.
To the surprise of all, Justice Buba began to apologise to Onwe for the absence of accessibility facilities at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, stating that such facilities exist at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
There and then Justice Buba emphatically made an order that Onwe should always be allowed to drive his car into the Court premises and given a suitable parking space there. The said order was immediately communicated to the Deputy Chief Registrar, who communicated the security unit for immediate compliance.
Onwe finally went back to his car, only to find out that the car’s four tyres had already been deflated by overzealous security men who claimed they acted on the order of the judge. Onwe went back to the court and was again granted audience by Justice Buba.
While thanking the court for the benevolent order earlier made, he informed the judge that his four tyres had been deflated. Again, Justice Buba made an order that the said tyres be inflated immediately at the court expense.
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