By Bayo Akinlade
A few days ago, I criticized the Lagos State government on the ‘Lagos Ride’ initiative which proposes to put more cars on the road for commercial purposes. The criticism was to bring to light the fact that many Magistrates in Lagos State had no official vehicles to take them to work and some of them depended on public transportation not minding the sensitivity of their jobs as Judges.
In response to this criticism and additional pressures, the Lagos State government has now made moves to provide vehicles for magistrates but what vehicles are they providing?
The Lagos State government has presented to the judiciary salon cars of the same make and specifications of the ‘Lagos Ride’ cars. This in my opinion is a sloppy attempt to save face. Let me put this in proper perspective.
1. How can you offer Salon Cars to senior magistrates when their colleagues and juniors in the magistrates were given SUVs
2. How can government be so insensitive as to provide vehicles that are not up to the standard that was provided for 10 years ago
3. Some Government staff within the judiciary recently got SUVs but Magistrates, who are the main characters in the Judiciary will now be giving salon cars?
We live in a society where these things matter. What morale are we building when a magistrate that has put in over 15yrs as a magistrate gets the same car as a magistrate that has put in one year. At least give the older Magistrates SUVs and let the juniors get a salon car.
I am of the opinion that the Chief Judge should reject this ‘Greek Gift’ and reaffirm the position of the Judiciary as a third and independent arm of the government.
The NBA should not tolerate this insult on our members who are on the Bench.
We in Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ) see this move as an insult and another way for government to institutionalize corruption within the Judiciary.
We are against any moves by government to force our magistrates and judges to collect bribes and discourage them from doing their duty without fear or favour.
We demand a standard of uniformity…..ALL Magistrates must be given SUVs otherwise, we will hold the opinion that there is a systematic movement to destabilize the judiciary so that the upcoming national elections can be rigged for the benefit of those currently in power.
I urge my colleagues in the magistracy to reject these vehicles and insist on better welfare for the Judiciary.
Bayo Akinlade Esq