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Ekiti Chief Judge, NBA, Olanipekun lament deplorable state of courts in Nigeria

By Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan) and Ayodele Afolabi (Ado-Ekiti)
20 January 2023   |   5:13 am
• Say judges go to courts in public transport with litigants • Adeniran, others back concern on Section 65 of Electoral Act Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Oyewole Adeyeye; Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), yesterday, lamented the deplorable state of the courts in the country,…

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji (left); his wife, Dr. Olayemi and the state Chief Judge, Adeyeye Oyewole, during the swearing-in of and oath-taking by Oyebanji as the new governor of the state at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado-Ekiti… yesterday.

• Say judges go to courts in public transport with litigants
• Adeniran, others back concern on Section 65 of Electoral Act

Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Oyewole Adeyeye; Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), yesterday, lamented the deplorable state of the courts in the country, saying that proper administration of justice can only take place in a decent environment.

They made the disclosure at the official commissioning of the ultra modern High Court Complex in Ikere donated by Olanipekun.

According to the CJ, some of the judicial divisions were constructed four decades ago, saying that out of 10 judicial divisions, six of them are at various stages of dilapidation, including Omuo, Ikole, Efon, Emure, Ilawe and Ido Ekiti divisions.

Also, the NBA Chairman, Ikere Branch, Dr. Michael Afolayan, in his address, lamented that some magistrates go to courts in public transport along with litigants, thus making them vulnerable to insecurity.

Olanipekun pleaded with governments all over the country, as well as men of goodwill, to pay attention to the deteriorating state of courtrooms, court facilities and fixtures.

According to the legal icon, “the walls and roofs of a good number of our courtrooms are collapsing and caving in. Basic facilities, such as toilets, are not available in a good number of courts all over the country.”

He said that the ambience of a typical or average courtroom should reflect an atmosphere of learning, which judges and lawyers subscribe to, and are known for.

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, while commending Olanipekun and the family for the donation of the High Court, Ikere Division, expressed the readiness and commitment of the government to addressing the challenges outlined by various speakers.

He said that his administration would ensure independence of the judiciary, better administration of justice and welfare of judicial officers.

Meanwhile, a former Nigerian Ambassador to United States (U.S.) and political scientist, Prof. Tunde Adeniran; a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dipo Olasope and a Law Professor at the Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof. Olu Ojedokun, yesterday, identified with the concern raised by Olanipekun on Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.

Olanipekun had in Ekiti State raised concern over section of the Act, which empowers the Chief Returning Officer to review election results within seven days.

Ojedokun, in his reaction, said: “It is good that the senior learned silk has raised the alarm. It makes Nigerians to be aware of the potential it has on the incoming election in a situation where the contest is close among the contestants.

Adeniran, who is a former minister said: “Olanipekun is one of the most credible legal voices in Nigeria. When people like Olanipekun and Afe Babalola speak, I don’t have objection to their views. They are not just legal luminaries but legal authorities with impeccable pedigree. Before they talk, they would have done thorough research. I don’t have any reason to doubt Olanipekun’s position. It carries weight.

On his part, Olasope said it is essential to expunge the section to avoid the repeat of the 1993 saga.