Lagos State Chief Judge and Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission, Hon. Justice Opeyemi Oke has sworn in four newly appointed Presidents and 15 members of the Customary Court with advice to them to imbibe the culture of credibility and a high level of decorum.
Justice Oke, at the swearing-in ceremony in Ikeja on Wednesday, also charged the appointees to always strive to uphold the tenets of fair hearing, which is the bedrock of the justice delivery system.
She urged them to be impartial at all times, saying “justice must not only be done but must be seen to have been done”.
According to Justice Oke, the values of honesty, uprightness, integrity and fairness are some of the positive qualities expected of customary court judges who must be at the forefront of excellence in Lagos State.
Reminding the Presidents and members of their roles, Oke said the oaths they took signified a bond of ethics between themselves and God, imploring them to be of good conduct.
“As members of the customary court, you are the first contact with the public at the grassroots and your conduct must be above board. You may find yourself sitting in the local government area where you reside or have relatives and friends and as such, be subjected to all kinds of temptation; but you must remain upright at all times”, she stated.
The Chief Judge cautioned that there will be no room for corrupt practices as the Judicial Service Commission has zero tolerance for corruption.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary, Judicial Service Commission, Mrs. Olubukola Salami disclosed that after thorough screening conducted on the new appointees, the Commission appointed them based on their qualifications, proven character, good standing, integrity and ability.
She also mentioned that the recently amended Customary Court Law 2015 has one major innovation which stipulates that legal practitioners who are at least 50 years of age shall be qualified to hold office as the President of a Customary Court and members are expected to be University Degree or Higher National Diploma (HND) holders.
Speaking further, Salami said the status of personnel in customary courts has been upgraded while the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the Court has been enlarged thus, the effect of the upgrade will lead to a speedy dispensation of justice and decongestion of cases at the lower courts amongst others.
She highlighted the need for Customary Courts, being a part of the judicial arm of government at the grassroots level, to ensure that high standards are maintained by their personnel to promote effective adjudication of cases and implementation of by-laws.