By Bayo Akinlade
Court infrastructure plays a vital role in the proper administration of Justice.
The inadequate or lack of vital court infrastructure such as court buildings, adequate power supply, electronic support, furniture and other infrastructure is no doubt responsible for delays in justice delivery and other injustices that befalls litigants and creates hardship for citizens
The Bar Association has in its Constitution as it’s first objective – the protection/preservation of the integrity of the Judiciary. Does this *integrity* include it’s physical integrity? I should hope so!
It is therefore disappointing that a few leaders in our profession can suggest that the Bar has no responsibility to support court infrastructure and to provide for such infrastructure that is lacking to ensure the smooth running of court business.
Yet, these same Bar leaders will buy cars and other personal items of comfort for individual judges and magistrates AND offer BRIBES to get their cases heard and get other court services promptly.
What is wrong if the Bar Association uses it’s collective wealth in supporting Court infrastructure where no individual lawyer will benefit but the collective will benefit?
What is wrong in the Bar Association providing diesel for the Court to run for 3 to 4 more hours on a daily basis or providing a back up Generating set?
What is wrong in an NBA Branch taking responsibility for the Judiciary in its Division to ensure that the judges, magistrates and staff in that division work optimally by bridging the gaps in any infrastructural deficit?
What is the raison d’être for the Bar, other than to complain about the ineffectiveness of the Bench?
The Bar knows that the Judiciary is underfunded but the Bar has not taken any steps to increase Judiciary funds by active advocacy and making presentations at the State Houses of Assembly and in other quarters.
This hypocrisy by the Bar has to cease. We gain nothing from expensive Bar dinners and Law Weeks in the face of declining opportunities within our work space.
Litigants cannot have their day in court anymore because of infrastructural deficits, the poor have nowhere to run to, citizens are looking to the police and other less civilized mechanisms for quick and effective justice delivery.
When will the Bar take up its core mandate and protect the only arm of government that it is responsible for?
I call on all Bar leaders to fill in the void, bridge the gaps, support the Judiciary in your division today…. If it’s a rim of paper, buy it, it’s to type your judgements and rulings, if it’s a computer or printer or printer ink support and purchase it… It’s all for you and your clients.
Yes, you pay court fees and you pay your taxes but not all who seek the services of the court pay these fees or dues so support the Courts today so that Justice may prevail
Bayo Akinlade is the Publicity Secretary,
Nigerian Law Society.
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