Magistrates in Osun State Judiciary have written the state Chief Judge, Justice Adepele Ojo to notify him of their intention to stop sitting.
They gave as reasons the refusal by the commissioner of police in the state to provide each magistrate with an orderly to ensure their safety and the wilful disobedience of the state commissioner of police to arrest and produce in court an Iwo monarch, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi, as ordered by one of them, Justice Olusola Aluko.
The magistracy handles the bulk of cases that are filed in any jurisdiction in Nigeria including a class of suits which police call overnight cases.
One of the implications of magistrates boycotting courts in the state is that many suspects arrested by the police who ought not to stay in custody for more than 24 hours or thereabout before they are taken to court will remain in custody till God knows when.
So many cases which are part-heard will also suffer.
The letter which was written with the letter head paper of the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria, Osun State branch was dated January 4th, 2017.
It was though addressed to the Chief Judge of Osun State, it was routed through the court’s Chief registrar.
The protest letter was signed by the chairman of the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria, Osun State branch, Ms. F.A Sodamade; secretary, Mr. F.I. Omisade; Mrs. A.O. Oyeniyi; Mr. J.O. Owolawi; Mr. A.O Ayilara and Mrs. A.O Ajanaku.
The letter reads in part, “We therefore humbly seek Your Lordship’s attention, protection and response in the following ways:
An urgent directive to the Commissioner of Police to arrest and present for prosecution the Oluwo of Iwo.
“An urgent order directing the commissioner of police to provide each magistrate with armed personal orderlies as done in other jurisdiction.
” We humbly state that with the prevalent threat to the security of magistrates as exemplified in the events in Iwo and Osogbo, we consider our lives unsafe and may be unable to continue sitting in our various stations, which may affect us entertaining any new charge from the office of the Commissioner of Police until the commissioner of police has complied with Your Lordship’s directives.”
The Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke, Oba Kadiri Adeoye, had instituted a case against Oba Akanbi before the court but the Oluwo has refused to appear before the Magistrates’ Court presided over by Mr. Olusola Aluko.
Aluko had on December 2 threatened to issue a bench warrant against the Oluwo if he failed to appear before him on December 20th but the monarch spurned the threat.
The magistrate then issued a bench warrant against the monarch on Decemebr 20 but the monarch said he would not appear before the magistrate.
Aluko also issued a fresh bench warrant against the monarch on Wednesday for contempt of court but the monarch still did not appear.
The magistrate later gave an order directing the CP to arrest and produce Oluwo in court on Friday ( tomorrow).
It is not likely that the CP has arrested the monarch.