The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) has urged the Chief Justice of Lagos State, Hon. Opeyemi Oke to take her anti-corruption war to the Probate Division, Sheriff and Bailiff Enforcement Units of the state judiciary.
During a courtesy visit to the Chief Judge by members of CLASFON, its Regional Coordinator, CLASFON, Prince Okey-Joe Onuakalusi commended the effort of the CJ in the quest to ride the judiciary of corruption.
He told the CJ that the Sheriff and Bailiff Enforcement Unit needs her attention, adding that several allegations of corruption have been levelled against staff of the units.
The body said the search light of anticorruption war embarked upon by the CJ should be beamed on those units.
“It is an open secret that this department of the judiciary cannot perform their primary duties without asking for gratification from litigants and counsel in one way or the other”, he said.
CLASFON indicted the Probate Division which it said is working with a 19th century attitude and mentality and in need of total overhaul.
“The probate division is another important aspect in the administration and dispensation of justice in Lagos State. A visit to the department in all the judicial divisions show that they are still working with a 19th century attitude and mentality. The department needs urgent and total overhaul.
“Shine your searchlight more on activities of Registrars and Sheriffs as they still promote corruption especially in the Magistrate Court”, the body noted.
The body recommended discipline and retirement of judges and magistrates who are performing below required standard.
“Some lawyers have been confronted with situations whereby a litigant will without fear of contradiction tell you to just go on to prepare documents and file same, that he knows how to get judgement in his favour, adding that based on that development, one thus becomes revolted in the womb of his spirit and wonders why one is working so hard.
“It is gratifying to note that your disposition to rid corruption from the Lagos Judiciary in all forms and manner has brought relief to many in the administration and dispensation of justice,” said Onuakalusi.
In her response, the Chief Judge, Justice Opeyemi Oke, thanked CLASFON for the visit, stressing that the advice is noted and that there is no going back in the anticorruption war.
The Chief Judge in her response to the group sought for prayers noting that she is only a tool in the hands of the Almighty God.
“I see myself as a tool in the hands of God. Whatever achievements in the last 3 months, it is not me, it is God at work.”
She further acknowledged concerns raised by the Christian lawyers and sought their cooperation in reporting indiscipline any erring member of the Bar and Bench who is found wanting.
She said she ensured that support staff deposed to oath of allegiance and oath of office to dispense justice in the Lagos State judiciary.