By Funmilayo Okunade
A representative sample of Ekiti lawyers denounced the long “stay out of court” due to the strike launched by members of the Nigerian Judicial Staff Union (JUSUN).
Lawyers said the strike sparked cases pending in various state courts.
The lawyers spoke in various interviews with correspondents from the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti.
One of the lawyers, Ms. Kehinde Omogbemigun, said the JUSUN strike affected her cases pending before the Ado-Ekiti Customary Court.
She cited a marriage dissolution pending in court since 2020, but already scheduled for trial, which the strike affected.
Omogbemigun urged the judiciary and the state government to sheath their swords and embrace peace in the interests of litigants.
Another lawyer, Mr. Michael Ogunsakin, said he was frustrated with daily calls from the families of his clients, who are currently in pre-trial detention at the correctional center for a minor offense.
He said the court gave them bail, which they couldn’t perfect, and that got them to the correctional center before the courts went on strike.
Ogunsakin added that the matter had been settled between the nominal complainant, but following the strike, correctional officers were unable to present the accused.
He called on federal and state governments to address the turmoil among court personnel, saying financial self-sufficiency was just a long overdue demand.
Mr. Temitayo Amao, another lawyer, urged federal and state governments to engage in dialogue on the issue before it gets out of hand.
He denounced the effects of the strike on litigants, the courts and the country’s economy.
He noted that litigants are experiencing the worst challenge of this period, saying that criminal cases have delayed the freedom of some people in correctional centers.
He added that when it comes to the civil issue in the High Court, “the time when people say justice is the last hope of the common man is over.”
On the other hand, a traditional chief, Mr. Gbenga Ogunrinde, said the strike affected the issue of his family land dispute pending in court, which he said was already scheduled for judgment, but affected by strike.
He said violence had erupted among family members since the case was brought to court, which claimed their lives and some had been hospitalized.
Ogunrinde said the family are patiently awaiting the verdict of the case before they know what the next step is.
He urged the state government to grant judicial autonomy, so that the courts resume their normal activities and also to curb criminal acts in society.
Another traditional chief, Mr. Kayode Agunbiade, said the strike had affected the community, saying reports of criminal acts were rife in the community.
He said people who have committed offenses that are not available at the police station should be charged in court to face the wrath of the law, but lamented that the strike affected them. (NOPE)
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