Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), the chairman of the Body of Benchers, has bemoaned the appalling condition of courtrooms nationwide and urged the government to take immediate action.
Olaonipekun claimed that courtrooms should reflect the learning environment that judges and lawyers subscribe to and are recognized for. He said ”We have to pay attention to the deteriorating state of courtrooms, court facilities and fixtures, in most parts of the country.”
Olanipekun, the former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), said this yesterday during the dedication of a new courtroom he built and donated to the Ikere Judicial Division of the Ekiti State High Court.
He said, “We have to pay attention to the deteriorating state of courtrooms, court facilities and fixtures, in most parts of the country. The walls and roofs of a good number of our courtrooms are collapsing and caving in
“Basic facilities such as toilets are not available in a good number of courts all over the country. Water and electricity are lacking. In most instances, functional libraries are not available.
“A sad spectre or scenery if lawyers scrambling to secure seats with litigants or sharing the meagre available accommodation within the “sardine – packed” courtrooms menacingly intimidate judges, counsel and litigants”
“I venture to submit that a good courtroom with up-to-date facilities will attract the confidence of litigants in our judicial system.
“If we continue to fail, refuse and neglect to maintain Justice, Justice, in turn, may refuse to regulate us, and eventually desert us”
In his remarks, the Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji described Olanipekun as a man who takes pleasure in giving back to the society and institutions that once nurtured him.
“This is yet another demonstration of his commitment to giving back to the Law Profession where he has made his mark as a distinguished member of the Bar and the Bench.
“As a people who are in need of urgent development, Chief Olanipekun has given us a legacy to copy. I want to therefore, call on all Ekiti indigenes all over the world to emulate this act of generous giving back.’’
Speaking, the chief judge of Ekiti state, Justice Oyewole Adeyeye who lamented the growing infrastructure decay in the judicial sector, lauded the former NBA president for the timely donation of the edifice, which he said would enhance effective administration of justice in the state.
Adeyeye said, “Our prayer was for the renovation of the existing structure; the learned silk by way of consequential order, granted us a brand new fully furnished court complex. That the project was delivered within such a record time is not only a testimony to determination and commitment but also a manifestation of a promise kept.
“Let it be quickly stated however that today’s occasion is by no means an admission of failure or helplessness on the part of the government in its social contract with the people through the provision of enabling facilities for service delivery.