Tuesday, October 30, 2007



Friday the 26th October, 2007 started on a quiet, rather uneventful note for Grace Ibukun Ibidapo. That morning, little did Ibidapo, a married lady lawyer, who works as a judicial assistant in the Lagos State Judiciary know that the day would end on a spectacular, if sad note for her.

In fact, things had gone so awry with the woman, that by 3p.m of the 26th October 2007, she had found herself at the emergency ward of the General Hospital, Lagos for treatment for shock, neck sprain and bruises. The attack that sent G.I. Ibidapo to the hospital bed came from a most unlikely place.

At about 2.05p.m on the said October 26, some verandah geckos saw a distraught G.I. Ibidapo somewhere about the outer offices of Honourable Justice Inumidun Akande, the Administrative (Head) Judge of Lagos High Court sobbing bitterly. Her eyes were red, cheeks puffy and her neck bore scratch marks as if so put there by the talons of a wild bird.

These verandah geckos did not waste time in sending this information to the SQUIB GECKO CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE NETWORK/SERVICE (GECINS) which in turn activated all PERMANENTLY IMBEDDED GECKOS (PIGS) in all the corridors of power in the Lagos High Court. About thirty minutes after the activation, the GECINS received a report from Olama (Code name) the PIG in Honourable Justice Titilola Oshode’s court. It read thus:

“Dear Chief Gecko, we have identified the staff in question. Her name is Grace Ibukun Ibidapo. She is a lawyer and works with Honourable Justice Titilola Ojikutu-Oshode as her judicial assistant. There was a clash between the judge and Ibidapo this afternoon. The clash was physical, very physical, full of noise. It all started in the judge’s chamber and climaxed in the open court. The judge was annoyed that her judicial assistant was not quick enough to write out the judgement of a case she presided on. According to the judge, the ‘assignment’ had been with the judicial assistant for several days without completion. The assistant however complained about the judge’s handwriting, claiming it was rather difficult to read. But this aside the fact that she was not too happy about writing judgements and rulings for her judge, since in her view, it was morally and legally wrong for her, a mere judicial assistant to be engaged in such tasks. The assistant was also not happy that the judge was delaying writing the progress report on her (the assistant) which is crucial to the renewal of the assistant’s contract of employment.

Maybe it is a case of “two fighting.” This is because the judge is claiming that it was her assistant who first touched her clothes but what I saw with my two “korokoro” gecko eyes was that the two women, Ojikutu J. and Ibidapo (42) were standing close to each other when a thunderous slap landed on the younger woman’s cheek. Immediately, her earring flew off. I personally saw about fifty-seven (57) stars dance all over the assistant’s face. The registrar of the court, one man called Demola Adekeye witnessed the incident but just stood there shivering like a wet chicken.

‘Ha, e gba mi leti!’ (Madam, you slapped me!) yelled the slapped assistant. But the older woman who probably is a ‘WRESTLEMANIA’ fan was not done yet. She made a loud ‘grrrrrrrrrrr’ sound and rushed to grab the judicial assistant by the neck in a wrestling-choke fashion for a long twenty-three seconds before registrar Demola Adekeye came to the rescue.

For about twenty minutes, the judicial assistant disappeared from our radar. But we sighted her later at the office of the Administrative Judge and later at the office of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission.

In the course of investigating this shocking story, the SQUIB endeavoured to hear from Justice Ojikutu-Oshode

SQUIB: (telephone) Good evening milady.
JUDGE: Good evening
SQUIB: May I speak with Honourable Justice Ojikutu Oshode?
JUDGE: Who are you?
SQUIB: My name is Adesina Ogunlana
JUDGE: Ha!...I don’t recognize your name.
SQUIB: I am the Editor-in-Chief of SQUIB magazine
JUDGE: (Switched off).

Long time observers of the Lagos Judiciary scene told the Squib that Justice Ojikutu-Oshode will not be the first judicial officer in Lagos State to be involved in physical fights with judiciary staff. For example, about a decade ago, a former Chief Judge of the state judiciary infamous for his terribly short temper got more than he bargained for when he slapped a junior staff at his official quarters.

The staff knowing full well that the Chief Judge was living alone, closed the door on the older man and extended the hot courtesy of three resounding slaps to the cheeks of the judge. The irascible judge became calm instantly and kept mum in line with the Yoruba adage that says:
“Iso inu e ku. A mu mora ni.” (One has no option than to bear the inconveniences of a secret shame manfully).

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1 comment:

yemmy said...

The story is rather amazing, because beside the fact that it deals with the Judicial arm of government, known, (or supposedly known) to be dignified, it concerns a Boss and a Subordinate.
As far as i know, it is degrading, and much more humiliating for a subordinate to be physically assaulted by his/her boss. I call it an Abuse.
The fact that i work under you doesn't give you any authority to physically abuse me. As an adult gainfully employed, i have my dignity and self esteem, and shouldn't be rubbishly treated; rather, i'm to be accorded some measure of respect.
For as long as we all remain humans, we would always have our shortcomings, behavioural or otherwise; and one man can never please the other 100% because we are all different persons wih different personalties.
The most a Boss can do to a Subordinate who has erred, in my view, is to tongue-lash the person, or better still, correct the person by showing a good example of how the task in question is supposed to be done.
Another point worthy of note here is that the assistant even mentioned that the task she was given to carry out by her Boss was one that was supposed to be done by that Boss! How Ironic!!!
Can you imagine? Beside the fact that the Boss was supposed to accord her assistant some respect no matter her error, her assistant was even doing her some good in the case at hand!
How awful that i'm mistreated upon doing a favour!!!
The bottom-line is this: In my own view, what happened in the story was an injustice; an offence against the person of Mrs Ibidapo, and one that should be seriously addressed, especially as regarding Bosses and Subordinates.