Judges abandon Ikorodu Customary Courts over non-payment of 8 months salaries

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Presiding judges at Ikorodu Customary Courts have continued to stay away from the temple of justice in protest over the non-payment of their eight months salaries.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inactivity at the courts was taking its toll on litigants and their dependants whose fate are tied to the court rulings.

Some of the affected judges told NAN that the situation was so bad they could not even transport themselves to the courts or meet their basic health needs.

Mrs Salimot Abiye, a petitioner who wanted divorce due to abandonment of her four children, told NAN that her plight had worsened as the court have refused to sit on her case.

She said that her petition for divorce had been pending before the Ikorodu Customary Court since February.

“My husband has taken advantage of the present crisis in the customary courts to further make life miserable for me and the children.

“Our children are no longer attending school due to non-payment of fees and are looking malnourished because they are not feeding properly,’’ she said.

Another petitioner, Mr Jacob Ogunye, said that his life had become stagnant because of the court’s inactivity.

“Since this imbroglio started, it is either the judges failed to form a quorum at seating or are not in the right frame of mind to do justice as expected.

“My case had been adjourned more than seven times since April this year,’’ he told NAN.

According to another petitioner, Mrs Helen Oyeyemi, those ordered to pay alimony were likely to avoid doing so under the current state of affairs at the court.

“Husbands who ordinarily have been irresponsible are happy with the court’s situation,’’ Oyeyemi, who wanted divorce because her husband started another family of two children without her knowledge said.

Mr Levi Adikwaone, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu Branch, said the matter was already before the Attorney General of Lagos State

“In a bid to surmount these anomalies, we wrote to the Attorney General of Lagos State giving a seven-day ultimatum to address all the issues that undermine justice administration in this division.

“The Lagos Government has replied promising to see to the end of all these challenges to effective justice administration by end of December.

“It is really appalling the conditions under which officers of the Temple of Justice in this judicial division work,’’ the NBA official said.

The Sole Administrator, Ikorodu Local Government, Mr Gbolahan Ogunneye, did not respond to several calls and text messages after visits to his office failed to yield any positive result.

However, a senior official of the local government, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the council was addressing the welfare issues of customary court judges.
“The customary court judges are not the only staff of this local council being owed salaries.

“I can tell you that the sole administrator is doing all within his power to pay every worker of the council because their welfare is top priority to him,’’ he said.
NAN reports that customary court judges in Lagos are recruited by the state’s Judicial Service Commission but remunerated by local councils where they work. (NAN)

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