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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

GOVERNMENT DISSOLVES LAGOS JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION.


Certainly the last has not been heard about the efforts of the Lagos State Government to appoint new Judges (about eight in number), even though there is a lull in the activities thereon courtesy of the on-going recess or vacation in the Judiciary, all over the country.
As has been exclusively reported by the Squib, in our two previous editions Vol 9 No 34 and 35 respectively, the chairman of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mr. Justice Adetula Alabi, who has only a week now to quit office of the honourable Chief Judge of the State by way of retirement, has paraded two lists of short-listed candidates (16 in all) for Judicial appointments in the state whereas the short-list of candidates actually prepared by the LSJSC had only ten candidates on it.
From reliable sources, we had gathered that the 10 man list enlarged to variants of the 16 man list after the sharply unpleasant meeting of the out going Chief Judge and the Governor of the state some weeks ago.
However the latest news related to the issue of judicial appointments in Lagos State, is, wait for it, the dissolution of the Judicial Service Commission of the state.
The dissolution, which is still only known to a few, was unexpected by many of the members, considering the fact that the LJSC can be said to be only mid-way- into their current term of five years.
Even without the disbandment, the current chairman, Alabi C.J. would have gone away nonetheless, once he retires on August 8 2009 from service. Also on her way out was Mrs. Bukola Balogun the Secretary, who was on contract employment with commission.
The full fledged members include Mr. Yomi Okunnu and Mrs. Abimbola Williams S.A.N who had spent like “an eternity” in the commission, having been there for no less than a decade now. The other member, a non-lawyer is one Mr. Ogunbawo.
Why nobody knows precisely the reason for the sack of the Judicial Service Commission, observers tend to believe it is not unconnected with the ‘wrangling’ between the Executive and the authorities of the Lagos State Judiciary on the new would be Judicial appointees. Some others believed that the disbandment was long over-due any way in the light of the presence of certain members who had become like permanent members of the commission and the need to inject new blood with fresher-vision into the commission.
Meanwhile in a rather curious situation, Mrs. Damilola Olanipekun of the daughters of the secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, has more or less surreptiously, become a magistrate in Lagos State.
Damilola a young lawyer in his late twenties, and called to the bar in October 2004 was until very recently a state counsel serving in the Office of the Public Defender of the state.
It is learnt reliably by the Squib that Damilola was appointed a Magistrate on a special Transfer of Services arrangement, placing her on entry into the magistracy on Grade Level 10. Even though sworn in only about two weeks ago, the appointment was said to have been back-dated to April 2009.
From all indications, it appears that Damilola Olanipekun became a magistrate on a “solo appointment” a most unusual situation, if indeed true, as magistrates are appointed together in fairly large numbers in Lagos State, whenever there are vacancies.

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