Commercial Law

Group demands investigations into looting, burning of Lagos High Court

An anti-corruption group, The Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ) at the weekend called for an investigation that led to the burning old building at that houses some courts at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos.

The court and adjoining Court of Appeal were targets of hoodlums in the mayhem that ensued after #Endsars protesters on Tuesday October 20, 2020. Part of the building, a colonial edifice was completely looted and razed.

Gavel International investigations however revealed that some of the hoodlums were caught through the assistance of some Justices of the Court of Appeal who contacted some security agencies when they were about to set the appellate court on fire.

Lagos High Court burning

FIACIJ in a statement issued by its convener, Bayo Akinlade, a former Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), Ikorodu branch said it was “saddened by the acts of unknown individuals who destroyed the Courthouses at Igbosere, including the Court of Appeal and recommends the following”

The group therefore  demanded a “full investigation into how these court premises were left unattended despite the police and military formations within the area*

They also advise the Chief Judge of Lagos  State, Justice Kazeem Alogba to “immediately consider the full adoption of remote hearings for all affected Courts pending when the physical structure of the courts will be restored”.

Burnt courtroom

FIACIJ also want the following done:

  • Temporary relocation of the Court cash offices and registry*
  • The Bar/Bench committee of the Lagos Branch of the NBA should immediately begin deliberations with the CJ of Lagos and a communication line activated to inform affected lawyers and litigants.
  • The temporary relocation of the multidoor courthouse*
  • Law firms within the Lagos area should consider donating space and be ready to support the Judiciary
  • All forms of corruption in the Judiciary must cease immediately
  • Each affected court must open a line of communication with lawyers who have business in their courts for case management purposes.
Cars burnt in the premises
  • The Judiciary must make the bidding process for the reconstruction of the courthouse transparent and participate actively in the design of the courtrooms*
  • The Judiciary should undertake a complete audit of it’s structures and lapses in it’s integrity and security.
  • All courthouses in Lagos State must be fully repaired and put in a condition fit for Judges and Magistrates.*

The statement concluded that “FIACIJ assures the Judiciary of its continued support in helping it change the image of the Judiciary in the eyes of citizens. To promote integrity within the justice sector and rid it of all corrupt elements”.

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