Mr. Anthony Atata whom I always fondly refer to as “Omo Atata”, is the Editor of the Courtroom Mail where he once wrote : “The court system is getting worse day by day and the way justice dispensation is crawling, one day it will finally grind to a halt and the people will head for the shrine to resolve their disputes. Touts are practicing law now with more audacity than before .Judges are still dishing out embarrassing rulings every day. Lawyers have kept a loud silence because they do not want to rock the boat that will evidently sink one day. They accepted the corruption in the registry and in fact the registrars are kings determining the fate of lawyers than judges. Sadly, law practice is gradually falling within the definition of a menial job. You now need the physical strength of a bricklayer to pursue Certified True Copies of processes in courts, follow up bailiffs to effect service even after you have made both receipted and “unreceipted” expenses .You need the strength of a welder to compile records even after you have done the illegitimate needful of ‘moving’ the people responsible”.
Without much ado, the problems being faced by lawyers have been beautifully captured above and with the swearing in of Hon. Justice O.O. Oke as the substantive Chief Judge of Lagos State, it has become necessary to give few words of advice to the new C.J. of the Centre of Excellency. While welcoming the new Chief Judge on board, one hopes that his Lordship has come with a big broom to sweep away all the rots in the system as highlighted above. I am not the new Chief Judge but if I were , one of the first things I will do is to issue a directive or circular to be wide published and pasted all over the places that it is not going to be the business as usual. That this is time around any judiciary staff caught in the very act of not doing what he or she is being paid to do by the government or engaging in what is not appropriate, such person will be seriously sanctioned. By the time you have few scapegoats everybody will sit tight and behave accordingly. Alhaji Femi Okunnu, SAN, CON, once told a fine story about the late Hon. Justice .J.I.C. Taylor (1917-1973) of blessed memory that as first Chief Justice of Lagos State, he would occasionally walk down the corridors of the High Court to ensure that every administrative and clerical member of staff was at his or her desk at 8’O’clock in the morning! We urge our new Chief Judge to borrow a leaf from this. May the tenure of the new C.J. be a blessed one to us all .
Abdulrasheed Ibrahim served as the Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association,Lagos branch