By Adebisi Onanuga
The Chief Judge of Ogun State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, has banned the use of the High Court Laws by the state’s Customary Court of Appeal.
In its place, Justice Dipeolu presented new rules for the Customary Court of appeal.
The presentation of the new rules was carried out on her behalf by Justice Abiodun Akinyemi at the Conference Hall, High Court premises at Isabo, Abeokuta.
The Chief Judge stated that the new laws were a guide for the Bar and the public, stressing: “The state High Court laws being used before now, will no longer be applicable in the Customary Court of Appeal.”
She added that the laws of the courts were in various forms, as the High Court Laws were different to Court of Appeal’s, as well as that of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, saying that the Customary Court of Appeal have its laws to guide its rulings.
“I am imploring the members of the Bar and the public to now jettison the idea of using the State High Court Laws and abide by the rules and regulations of the new Customary Court of Appeal Laws, as it will now guide the daily ruling and judgment of the court,” Justice Dipeolu said.
The President, Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Mobolaji Ojo, urged members of the Bar and the public to follow the Customary Court of Appeal Rules 2020 to bring justice closer to the people.
He said the Customary Court of Appeal was first introduced as part of the hierarchy of courts in Nigeria under the 1979 Constitution, thus: sections 6(3), 245-249. He noted that Plateau State was one of the first states to embrace the Customary Court of Appeal.
Justice Ojo added that the court has been retained under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
He said the State House of Assembly passed into law the Customary Court of Appeal Law 2011, which was assented to by the then Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, on September 5, 2011.
He said the statute had remained on the shelf for several years until the advent of this administration, which granted approval for the constitution of the state Customary Court of Appeal.
“As you can see, the law is a new one and needs to be introduced to the Bar and the public to be followed. We have been using the State High Court Laws, but now we have introduced our own laws to the Bar and the public,” Justice Ojo said.
He explained that on jurisdiction of the Customary Court of Appeal, Section 282 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provides: ‘A Customary Court of Appeal of a State shall exercise appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceeding involving questions of customary law.’ ’’
According to him, “for the purposes of this section, a Customary Court of Appeal of a state shall exercise such jurisdiction and decide such questions as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State for which it is established”.
He commended Governor Dapo Abiodun for supporting and believing in the court by approving its constitution and gave kudos to Justice Dipeolu.
He also said the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran’s commitment to the progress and development of the Customary Court of Appeal was unequivocal.
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