Olanipekun pushes for judges’ role in Nigeria’s restructuring

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Eminent lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN, yesterday asked judges of the State High Courts in the country to join the clamour for a restructured Nigeria as the nation's judicial system was not exempted from the country's socio-economic and political anomaly.
Olanipkeun in an address delivered to judges of High Courts, retired judges and lawyers as parts of activities marking the Ondo State Legal year, said the judiciary should be reformed in such a way that State High Courts would have its jurisdiction expanded.
Particularly, he said Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution which vested jurisdiction on State High Courts had limited its scope which may limit the promotion of High Court judges to Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.
In his address entitled "Dispensation of Substantial Justice in the eyes of the law," Olanipekun said the Federal High Court had taken substantial jurisdiction of the State High Courts thereby leaving them with "agrarian jurisdiction."
Olanipekun told the Chief Justices of Ondo, Ekiti and Osun States and lawyers that the clamour for Nigeria's restructuring of the polity should not be limited to the warped federation, which was more unitary than federal but should be extended to the judiciary.
He said: "Let me quickly chip in that when we speak of restructuring our current federal system, people in the judiciary and the judicial/legal sector seem to play the ostrich; believing that it is a topic to be left to the politicians and those in the legislative and executive arms of government forgetting that lawyers and judges must see the law as a tool for setting the pace of societal and communal evolution."

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