Lagos gets new Customary Court President

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Lagos State Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke today swore in the newly appointed President and Members of the Customary Court in line with the State government’s resolve to improve service delivery in the judiciary system.

Justice Oke admonished the new appointees to let the fear of God be in their hearts as they rule on cases in consonance with the rule of law. She urged them to enshrine justice in their courts according to the native law and custom of the people.

According to her, “As customary court judges and members, you must act with a high level of decorum and within the dictates of your conscience. The fundamental rights, freedoms and principles underpinning our Constitutional Democracy must guide you”.

She reiterated the need for them to conduct themselves in a manner that is seen to be above board, noting that any deviation from the prescribed standards or other infringements shall attract the sanction of the Judicial Service Commission.

The Chief Judge cautioned the appointees not to indulge in corrupt practices as the Commission has zero tolerance for same and will be swift to appropriately discipline any officer found culpable after thorough inquiries.

“Let it resonate in your hearts at all times that as Customary Court Judges and members, you are to maintain a high standard of judicial conduct. In addition to good morals, judicial etiquettes and high ideals of conduct, it is equally important that your knowledge of the native law and custom of the people must be exceptional” she stated.

Oke reiterated that “it is now abundantly clear that a Judge who is not fully aware of the law can ruin lives by interpreting the law wrongly and thereafter giving the wrong judgment. It was in the light of this that the Commission conducted a thorough screening from which you emerged as the best candidates based on your track record, integrity, ability and qualifications, and were therefore appointed without any unwarranted interference, whether externally or otherwise”.

While noting that the jurisdiction of the Customary Court has been expanded and likewise the volume of cases has also increased significantly, the Chief Judge urged them to enhance their knowledge of the rudiments of case management to attract more patronage by members of the public who principally use the Court as a dispute resolution forum.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Lagos State Judiciary Commission, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, expressed confidence that the inauguration of the new appointees would enhance justice delivery at the Customary Court level and ensure speedy disposition of cases.

Salami implored them to maintain a high standard of professionalism, competence and integrity in the dispensation of justice, stressing that such has become necessary as their conduct and carriage would come under public scrutiny.