Sunday, April 13, 2014
LAGOS STATE JUDICIARY MARKS 2013/2014 NEW LEGAL YEAR
VOL.14 NO. 1 07-10-13
Good morning sir. I believe that you still enjoy excellent health, courtesy of his Grace. We remain grateful to God for your life.
I feel constrained to write this letter to you, not only because you are a former (not retired) justice of our nation’s apex court, or because you are now an old man, a gallant elder at those that may be properly regarded as fathers in the law.
I have been at a few for a where you spoke on the state of affairs of our nation, particularly vis a vis the legal profession.
On these different occasions, the distinct impressions I took away from your contributions were that you are one jurist who is an incurable champion of justice delivery, justice promotion, ethnical and responsible conduct on the part of judges and lawyers alike.
Thus I was absolutely shocked even bewildered to see you on the ripened morning of Thursday 24th October 2013 at the Foyer, of the Lagos High Court Igboseere, playing the role of Chairmanship at the launch of a book dedicated in honour of Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips, the Chief Judge of Lagos State.
I really thought a jurist of such a high should not be caught at such a function!
Are you surprised sir at my contention? You may wonder at my taking you to task over your presence a boo launch in honour of a judge?
My grouse sir, is not with the Book that was launched, the bodies who launched same and the worthy in whom honour of whom it was dedicated.
My grouse is the timing of the launch – 11.00am on a working day! Sir what do you think the goddess of justice thought of such an event holding in the heart of her hours?
As you would agree with me sir, aside the honouree of the day, to wit Hon. Justice Ayo Phillips herself, there were no less than forty serving Lagos State High Court judges and several magistrates in attendance.
Clearly the programme which essentially was a private affair of the publishers of the book (ENTITLED “A REFORMATORY APPROACH TO THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IN NIGERIA) disrupted the administration of Justice in Lagos State on Thursday 24 October.
Out of the fifty high court judges in Lagos, less than fifteen sat on that day. And of thus number, not up to four sat for more than an hour or two.
And, all for what?-The affected judges and magistrates shut their various temples of justice to spectate on a fund Raising Ceremony.
And where is the money raised at the Book launch going to? Coffers of the Lagos Judiciary or the Lagos State Government? Of course the answer is ‘no’
The proceeds go to the account of the publishers of the book. Now because of the book launch hundreds of litigants and their respective counsel could not have their day in court. Some came even outside jurisdiction. Some came with great difficulty and cost but almost all would have came with reasonable expectation of adjudication on their matters.
Alas most went home disappointed-the judges were not there for them. And only for the reason that the judges had left their courts for a social event!
I really feel that your Lordship as an elder of a commanding height ought to have counseled against holding the Book Launch on a work day and if it Must be a work day then certainly not before 3.00pm, thus, so that our judges and magistrates would have done first things, first.
In my candid opinion that Book Launch of Thursday 24th October 2013 that started about 11.00am and ended at about 2.00pm was insensitive, abuse of office, abuse of privilege and smacks quite strongly of what Yoruba people call “Iwa a wa lawance, ta ni o mu wa? (we are in power and who dare challenge us?) and overall unjust.
One may like to ask what example was the Chief Judge setting by allowing a book in her honour to be launched during at the peak time of office hours in a work day.
Would the Chief Judge have approved such a programme of any other judge, magistrate or any judiciary staff?
Thank you sir for your kind and patient perusal of my feeble writing.
I only hope it makes more sense than nonsense to your Lordship
Very faithfully yours
Adesina Ogunlana Esq.