* Calls for special intervention on state of courtrooms across Nigeria
*Oyebanji urges other indigenes to emulate former NBA president
The Chairman, Body of Benchers, Chief Wole Olanipekun has emphasised the need to pay special attention to the state of courtrooms across the country.
Olanipekun made the remarks in Ikere-Ekiti, his country home at the inauguration of the ultra-modern court room, he built and donated to the Ekiti State High Court, Ikere Judicial Division, yesterday.
Specifically, the legal icon pleaded to different governments all over the country, as well as all men of goodwill, “that we have to pay attention to the deteriorating state of courtrooms, court facilities and fixtures, in most parts of the country.”
According to the legal giant, “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.
“May I use this opportunity to plead and appeal to our different governments all over the country, as well as all men of goodwill, that we have to pay attention to the deteriorating state of courtrooms, court facilities and fixtures, in most parts of 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”
Olanipekun, said the ambience of a typical or average courtroom should reflect an atmosphere of learning which judges and lawyers subscribe to, and are known for, rather than representing, both from unkempt theatre.
“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,” he said.
In his speech, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, while commending Olanipekun and the family for the donation of the High Court, Ikere division, said there was no doubt that Olanipekun remains a man who takes pleasure in giving back to the society and the institution that once nurtured him.
Oyebanji, said this was another demonstration of his commitment to giving back to the law profession where he made his mark as a distinguished member of the Bar and the Bench.
“I therefore call on all Ekiti indigenes all over the world to emulate this act of generous giving back,” the governor said.
The state Chief Judge CJ, Justice John Adeyeye decried that some of the judicial divisions were constructed four decades ago, saying out of 10 judicial division, six of them are at various stages of dilapidation, including Omuo, Ikole, Efon, Emure, Ilawe and Ido Ekiti divisions.
“20 out of 29 customary courts are yearning for renovation. Their urgent intervention can therefore not be overemphasized.
“As the last hope of the common man, the judiciary can’t be an appendage of another arm of government. It must be independent in positive partnership with other organ of government for a better society. This independent can only be achieved if judiciary is allowed to function well in a conducive environment,” he added.
Sections in the newly constructed High Court complex were named after some illustrious sons of the state -Honourable Justice Olajide Olatawura, Honourable Justice Micheal Ekundayo Ogundare and Founder of Afe Babalola University
In his address, legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola who commended Olanipekun for his philanthropic gesture, added that, ” its Challenge to all at the event of today, is a challenge to all of us and I hope others will emulate the “giving back spirit” of Chief Wole Olanipekun”.
Afe Babalola noted that, “In addition to all these, the spirit of giving back to the society with the aim of making the world better than he has met it is highly commendable.
“It is regrettable that Nigeria is bereft of philanthropists in the mould of Wole Olanipekun contrary to the convention and traditional practice in Europe and America where well-to-do people donate lavishly to institutions, churches and society generally.”