Justice Kazeem Alogba, Chief Judge of Lagos State, on Tuesday sworn in five presidents and 16 members to the bench of the state’s Customary Court to ensure speedy dispensation of justice.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the ceremony took place at the premises of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja.
Addressing the new Customary Court presidents and members, the chief judge advised them to deal with cases that would come before them, especially family disputes, with patience and fear of God.
Justice Alogba urged them to avoid conflict of interest while carrying out their duties, noting that there had been complaints of customary courts’ presidents and members taking wives or husbands of litigants before them.
He said: “When you are dealing with family matters, inheritance matters; you must exercise patience and the fear of God. These are the areas where we usually have complaints.
“We used to get complaints about members and presidents taking over litigants’ wives, but I have implicit trust in you.
“You are all looking very handsome but please let that handsomeness tell in your work, not in other people’s wives.
“As for the ladies, we used to hear of ladies taking litigants husbands too. And it is a fact.
“My fear about you too is not less than that I have about the male presidents, with all these your gorgeous hats and shiny dresses; but I pray that that beauty will be exhibited more in the judgments that you write.”
While urging the new arbiters to exercise their powers justly and in the fear of God, Alogba said that a misdirected application of the exercise of their powers in any family matter, could mean a dislocation of an entire generation.
In her address, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Judicial Service Commission, Mrs Bukola Salami, urged the new customary court presidents and members to always carry themselves with dignity.
Salami said that they were subject to the Commission’s disciplinary action in events of proven allegations of misconduct.
Responding on behalf of her colleagues, Mrs Kehinde Obisakin, said that the newly sworn in officers “will not fail God and will not fail you (the Chief Judge).”
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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