A group, Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary (FIACIJ), says it is disappointing that the Igbosere High Court, Lagos, which suffered arson during the October 2020 #EndSARS prorest still remains in ruins.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the #EndSARS protest against police brutality of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was highjacked by hoodlums who unleashed mayhem resulting loss of lives and property across the country.
During the protest, some of the hoodlums looted and razed the Igbosere High Court in Lagos Island.
The historic edifice is the oldest judicial building in Nigeria and rebuilding of the court complex is yet to commence.
Mr Bayo Akinlade, Convener of FIACJ, said that the justice delivery system in Lagos suffered great setbacks in the aftermath of the arson attack.
“Judicial services literally shut down for months while alternative venues for court houses and court registry had to be considered.
“A few of our judges and magistrates had no courts to sit in and no files to attend to as most files where burnt.
“The recovery was slow and discouraging. With the many buildings owned by our State and Federal Government in Lagos Island, one wonders why the courts found it difficult to get a building.
“It is also dissapointing that the courts at Igbosere still remain in ruins.
“One whole year and no sign of rehabilitation. No explanation and no drive from stakeholders to change the narrative,” Akinlade said.
The FIACJ convener said that the burning of the courthouse by hoodlums was a sign that the justice system had failed the masses.
“A year on, a lot of people do not care whether the judiciary exists or not as it is seen as just another extension of the executive arm of government,” he said.
NAN reports that judges affected by the arson attack have been relocated to courthouses located in Yaba and Osbourne, Ikoyi areas. The courts were constructed by the Lagos State Government.
While handing over the newly built Osbourne Courthouse complex to the Lagos Judiciary on July 1, the Lagos State Attorney-General, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), described the eight-courtroom complex as a temporary accomodation for some of the displaced judges.
Onigbanjo had assured the judiciary that as part of the Lagos Rebuilding Project, plans were underway by the government to rebuild the razed courthouse. (NAN)