Lagos is the fifth largest economy in Africa, the largest in Nigeria, the most viable commercial and financial state in Nigeria and the ICT hub for West Africa and potentially, the biggest ICT market in the continent. Lagos is not only leading in economics, it is also a trial blaze in the nation’s judicial sector.
Lagos State prides itself as the pace setter in terms of reforms in both civil and criminal procedures in Nigeria. All states intending to reform their court procedural mechanisms take a trip to Lagos to borrow leave. The Judicial System in Lagos State is however not Eldorado on all fronts.
In Lagos State, there are five Judicial Divisions (Ikeja, Lagos, Badagry, Ikorodu and Epe). In all the judicial divisions in Lagos State, lawyers are required to pay between N20 – N50 to either “wee wee” or “poo poo” (commonly used in Nigeria to describe the terms; urinating and defecating). Where you don’t have the money, you are free to use your wig and gown as alternatives. I really don’t know when this started, but it is a tradition which has to be looked into critically and addressed.
To start with, the alliance of the personnel who guard the toilets is shrouded in a lot of secrecy. Are they employees of Lagos State Civil Service Commission or employees of the Lagos State Judiciary or they are on special contracts.
Another serious concern is, where does the money collected for the “wee wee” and “poo poo” go to? Do they form part of the internally generated revenue for Lagos State? Is it used to run the affairs of the courts? Is it shared amongst some individuals? Is it used to run the toilets?
Where ever the personnel are from or whatever the money is used for, it is an eyesore for a lawyer to pay for “wee wee” or “poo poo” within the court premises. It is demeaning, demoralizing and disturbing.
While the CJ is settling down to address all the ills within our courts, this is one serious issues My Lord needs to look into critically. Lawyers should be given the right to at least “wee wee” and “poo poo” without pay.