Facts have emerged that the Kwara State judicial system habours no fewer than 90 magistrates with less than 30 courtrooms in the lower court, ROYAL NEWS has gathered.
Further findings revealed that all the courtrooms are in poor condition while the Area Court judges who are saddled with higher jurisdiction on the other hand are so few that some of them cover about three courts across the state.
This is contained in a petition addressed to to the National Judicial Service Commission, (NJSC) by an Ilorin based legal practitioner, Barr. Sambo Murtala, accusing the Kwara State Chief Judge, Justice Suleiman Durosinlohun Kawu, of irregularities.
He bemoaned the condition of service of existing judges, wherein the condition of service is anything but conducive.
According to him, “Violation of and non compliance with the constitutional and statutory provision in the process of appointment of five new High Court judges by Kwara State Judicial Service Commission” describing the procedure as “travesty of justice.
“As a legal practitioner, I considered it part of my obligations to ensure and insist that the Constitution and the laws are not violated and are complied with most especially in the temple of justice and to ensure the Shrine of Justice is not turned into abattoir of injustice. My Lord, I presumed that Your Lordship and Honourable Members of the Council are aware that the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission (KWSJC) is in the process of appointing Five Judges for Kwara State high court.
“Neither the law nor morality and good conscience would support or vindicate the unprecedented un-procedural procedure being adopted for the process of appointment of new High Court Judges by the Kwara State Judicial Service Commission under the Leadership of Hon. Justice Sulaiman Duroshinlohun Kawu C.J.
” According to RULE 5 (5) OF NATIONAL JUDICIAL COUNCIL PROCEDURAL RULES FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL OFFICERS INTO SUPERIOR COURTS OF RECORD, before any appointment of judicial officer or officers can be made, facilities such as Court Room, Library, official quarters and vehicle must be on ground. None of this is available in Kwara State, In fact the state of infrastructural facilities of the Kwara State High Court is so deficient and bad to the extent that two or more High Court Judges share a court room and seat in turns a situation which lawyers derisively referred to as “Morning and afternoon sessions”.
“In fact, the two High Court Judges and two Sharial Court of Appeal Khadis appointed in the State last year are yet to get official vehicles and quarters up till today. These are verifiable facts.
” The state of our courts are so terrible that lawyers have to submit a photocopies of law reports of cases cited in our addresses to have a judgment day in view. Counsel and litigants take turns in court just as judges do. The judges appointed recently are yet to get their entitlement up till the moment.
“After the hurried and stage managed shortlisting, the Commission fixed and adjourned its next meeting to Wednesday, 30th October, 2019. While the list of shortlisted candidates were sent to Judges for their comments and recommendations between Saturday 26th and Sunday, 27th October, 2019, the Judges were requested to turn in their Reports latest Tuesday, 29th October, 2019, same for the Security Reports by DSS. The interview of the Shortlisted candidate is also fixed for Wednesday, 30th October, 2019.
“The jet speed at which the exercise is being conducted is no doubt a clear manifestation of the Commission’s realization of the attendant unconstitutionalities and violations that characterized the process. Since the tenure of the present THREE member Commission expires on 31st October, 2019, this informed why the Commission is bent on rushing the process to completion” he stressed
Alleging the Kwara State CJ of nepotism and favoritism, Barr. Sambo according to the petition alleged that “Interestingly, the shortlisted names includes Barr. Hussain Toyin Kawu, a DCR with the Court of Appeal who is a full blood brother of the Chief Judge. The said Hussain Toyin Kawu has been unable to get appointed to the Bench of the Federal High Court and the Federal Capital Territory dues to series of negative security against him.
“Hussain Toyin Kawu was included in the list a head of other more eminently qualified applicants out of close to HUNDRED applicants that put in” he alleged.
He however demanded among other things the “suspension of the exercise till the Commission has its full compliments of members by which it would have quorum and after the required facilities are put in place.
“If and when the exercise is to be conducted, eminently qualified applicants should be accorded priority as against persons who are being considered just to fill vacancies and the exercise should be devoid of nepotism and favoritism.
“The DSS should not short circuited by time but should be given adequate time to discharge its duties with respect to security screening of shortlisted candidates” he demanded.