Annual Court Vacation would be Abridged in Lagos – Chief Judge

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Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kareem Alogba, has said this year long vacation may be abridged to make up for the court time lost due to Covid 19 pandemic, #Endsars protest and recent strike by judiciary workers across the country.

Rather than embarking on the judges’ annual full vacation that usually last for about two months, the Judges of the state high court would rather be allowed to go on four weeks vacation.

Justice Alogba, who did not mince words by stating that the vacation is important for judges to refresh, said in spite of the Covid 19 pandemic and judiciary workers strike, the state judges were sitting and delivering judgements virtually until the court resumed officially.

The annual vacation is always fixed for between July and September each year.

At a valedictory session for a retired judge of the Lagos High Court, Justice Babajide Candide-Johnson who retired from the Lagos Bench on June 27 having attained the mandatory retirement age of 65, Justice Alogba said the trauma of the aftermath of the destruction of the High Court owing to #Endsars protest is still with the judges.

He also noted that during the #EndSARS protest quite a number of the judges watch their properties being burnt by protesters at Lagos High Court, Igbosere.

“The trauma is still there with us. You can’t imagine how it would affect the psyche. Our Judges are under a lot of trauma.

“We will not take full vacation but only go for four weeks. The reason for going on vacation is not from arrogant position but from informed position.

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“We would go on a brief vacation and come back refreshed to take on the task ahead”, he said.

He noted that it was only last Thursday that Lagos state government handed over a new court building on Osbourne Road, Ikoyi to the state judiciary.

It would be recalled that a Senior lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, had in a letter to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad and the National Judicial Council (NJC) pleaded for cancellation of long vacation for judges nationwide to enable courts clear the backlog of cases in their dockets which piled up over time.

The lawyer argued that in view of the backlog of cases due to judiciary workers strike and others the suspension will enable the court to work for the interest of those who are languishing in detention and awaiting trial, alongside other pending important civil suits.

On his own, the retiree, Justice Candide-Johnson, in his appreciation, said he was satisfied and fulfilled as he goes into retirement.

He said: “For some, the fear of NJC was the beginning of wisdom. For me, it is not once you have served faithfully and dispense justice without fear or favour.”

He thanked the judiciary for the opportunity to serve on the bench and his colleagues for their support.

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