Concerted efforts being made to ensure that a Division of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria is established in Osun State received a boost last week as the Facilitation Committee set up by the Osogbo Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) met with different stakeholders for the realisation of the objective.
The lawyers’ body had last February constituted a Court of Appeal Facilitation Committee with the mandate to collaborate with other Branches of the Association in the state on the project.
The Committee was also saddled with the responsibility to contact the government of Osun State and other prominent Nigerians towards making the demand a reality.
Upon its inauguration, the Committee immediately hit the ground running by contacting many institutions and persons within and outside the state and solicited them for their support on the long-sought demand. As parts of its campaign, the committee on Tuesday the 28th of July, 2020 paid an advocacy visit to the Osun State Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Femi Akande.
During the visit, the Committee Chairman, Mr. G. A. Adesina emphasised that establishment of the Osogbo Division of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria was long overdue. According to him, Osun State is not just desiring to have a Court of Appeal Division of its own but eminently deserving of one. He added that a greater percentage of appeals lying to the Akure Judicial Division emanated from Osun State courts, but with discouraging difficulties to both the citizens and their lawyers in pursuing the appeals.
Stating further, the Committee said there were many benefits to the litigating citizens and their lawyers, including the government lawyers if the state has its own Division of the court. According to the committee, there will be a reduction in the risk of traveling to and from Akure (security and otherwise), as well as in the time and cost usually incurred, among other benefits to the state as a whole.
The Committee then proposed two government facilities, either of which was considered to be suitable as a take-off site once the Association’s request is supported by the State Governor and granted by the relevant federal authorities.
One of the proposed sites is the old Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) building, located along Gbongan Road, beside November 28 Bridge in Osogbo, but currently occupied by the Osun State Civil Service Commission. The other one is the proposed permanent site for the Osun State Customary Court of Appeal which is adjacent the Government House, along Ilobu Road in Osogbo.
Another issue discussed by the Committee during the visit was the equal need for provision of a beffiting accommodation for the Judges of the proposed Court of Appeal, Osogbo Judicial Division.
While responding, the Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice appreciated the Association for its concern about the state’s development and for its progressive suggestions. He promised to present the Committee’s request and suggestions to the Governor and give a feedback on the Governor’s position in due course.
Immediately after the meeting, the Committee and a delegation representing the office of the Honourable Attorney-General proceeded to inspect the two facilities proposed by the Committee.
Other members of the Committee present at the visit were Mr. Soji Oyetayo (Alternate Chairman), Mr. Phillips Afolayan (Secretary), Mrs Julie Olorunfemi (member), Mrs C. O. Fasugba-Odutayo (member), Mrs S. O. Ola (member) and Mr. Olusola Ajao (member). The Alternate-Chairman of the Branch’s Media and Publicity Committee, Mr. Tolu Adeyemo, was also on the visitors’ entourage.
The Honourable Attorney-General was joined by Mr. Adedapo Adeniji (Acting Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Osun State Ministry of Justice), Mrs M. A. Bello (Director of Public Prosecutions), Mr. Jide Obisakin (Director, Litigation and Advisory Services Department), Mr. Kayode Titiloye (Director, Commercial and Legal Drafting Department) and Mr. Biodun Badiora (Administrator-General and Public Trustee) to receive the Committee during the advocacy visit.
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