Some Landlords whose houses were being used as magistrate courts have given the Ondo State Judiciary a quit notice over inability of the judicial arm of government to pay rents of property converted mainly for adjudication purposes for several years.
Until the building of new Magistrate Courts in Akure, the state capital, the courts had used Olukayode House at Oshinle quarters for its sittings.
The same development was applicable to many communities where the judiciary did not have its own building. For instance, the landlord of a property being used as Magistrate Court in Akungba Akoko in Akoko Southwest Local Government area of the State has written a strongly worded letter to the Chief Judge, Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu over the indebtedness of the judiciary. Sources said the landlord of the property had not been paid for six years, prompting him to ask the judiciary to evacuate its court from his premises. Apart from the strongly worded letter and the quit notice, the landlord asked the judiciary to pay the arrears.
This development had made the judiciary to contemplate relocating the court to Oka-Akoko, the headquarters of Akoko Southwest Local Government pending the resolution of the dispute over the rent. In the letter with reference CROD/1179/V.5/ 65 dated September 17 and signed by the Chief Registrar, Mr. J Adenegan said the court had been relocated to Iwaro-Oka.
The letter entitled “Relocation of Court Cases to Chief Magistrate Court, Iwaro-Oka” stated that “pursuant to a month’s notice to vacate the building being used for court sitting at Chief Magistrate’s Court, Akungba-Akoko to the owner through the counsel, Mr. Timilehin Oguntuase, the Hon Chief has directed that the business of court in Chief Magistrate’s Court, Akungba-Akoko be temporarily moved to Chief Magistrate’s Court, Iwaro-Oka with immediate effect. “This relocation is for the time being pending the availability of alternative accommodation that may be put in place for Chief Magistrate, Akungba-Akoko.”
This, however, angered the people of the town who saw the temporary relocation as a ploy to deprive them of the services of the court. But the monarch of the town, Alale of Akungba, Oba Sunday Adeyeye had intervened in the dispute and resolved the dispute over the payment of the rent. The Alale of Akungba, who spoke with a reporter said he had met with the landlord and the Ondo State judiciary and the matter had been amicably resolved, assuring residents that the Magistrate’s Court would not be relocated as being insinuated by a section of the university community.
Credit: The Nigeria Lawyer