The President, Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal (CCA), Hon. Justice Mobolaji Ojo, has urged members of the Bar and the public to follow the State Customary Court of Appeal Rules 2020, in order to make justice closer to the people of the State.
Justice Ojo made this known at the official presentation of the Customary Court of Appeal Rules to the Bar and the Public, held at Conference Hall, High Court Premises at Isabo, Abeokuta.
He said that 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 thereof, saying that Plateau State was one of the first States in the country to embrace the Customary Court of Appeal.
Ojo added that the Court has been retained under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, noting that it created the Judicature, comprising of Court established for the Federation and the States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said that State House of Assembly (The Seventh Legislature) passed into law, the State Customary Court of Appeal Law 2011, which was assented to by the then Governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on September 5, 2011.
He said the statute would have remained on the shelf for several years until the advent of the present administration, which granted approval for the constitution of the State Customary Court of Appeal, noting that the Court had been using the State High Court laws since the establishment of Customary Court and it was now imperative to obey the new laws of the Court being introduced to the Bar and the public.
“As you can see that 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 the jurisdiction of the Customary Court of Appeal, section 282 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) provide; “A Customary Court of Appeal of a State shall exercise appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in a 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 appreciated the Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun for supporting and believing in the Court by approving its constitution and gave kudos to Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, saying that Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Akingbolahan Adeniran whose commitment to the progress and development of the State Customary Court of Appeal was unequivocal.
In her address, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Mosunmola Dipeolu, represented by Justice Abiodun Akinyemi stated that laws became a guide for the Bar and public, as the State High laws being used before now, would not be applicable in the Customary Court of Appeal.
She added that the laws of the Courts were in different forms, as the State High Court laws were different from the Court of Appeal, as well as that of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, saying that the Customary Court of Appeal has now had its laws to guide them in its rulings.
“I’m imploring the members of the Bar and 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 judgement of its Court,” Dipeolu said