An eerie air pervaded the vicinity of the Magistrate Court 1 at Sango, Ogun State, last Monday. This is the day the case of Joachim Iroko, the guy who named his dog after the nation’s president, General Mohammadu Buhari (retd), was to be opened before the court among sundry cases.
The lawyers were busy preparing their cases while the Judge, Mr. B. Ojikutu, was going through the pre-session formalities, head buried in a book. Witnesses as well as other observers in the court room maintained order that matched the quiet and serene ambience of the hallowed court.
But directly outside the court is a different scenario. Animated, sweat glistening faces of miscreants who cordoned off the entire compound that housed the three Magistrate Courts 1, 2 and 3, was enough threat to task the nerves of a first visitor. They were unruly, each speaking at the top of their voices and in some instances, engaging some lawyers in a tete-a-tete.
It was like a gathering of rogues, awaiting signal to launch attack on a perceived enemy; a contrast to the world within the court.
The presiding Judge adjusted himself on his seat in readiness for the day’s job and the first case was read out by the Court Clerk. But the unusual played out.
Mr. Ogunmola, a barrister, would not condone the swift drifting of the hallowed court into a den of cultists.
In a sharp voice that pierced through the serenity of the court room, Ogunmola, pleaded with the judge to treat as a matter of first priority before the day’s proceedings, the gradual encroachment of the court by men he described as cultists, who are in the habit of besieging the court premises on daily basis with unruly behaviours, ostensibly as a mark of solidarity for their members on trial.
Ogunmola alleged that the activities of these cult members have been festering for a very long time; a development he said has put some lawyers who will not want to have anything to do with them, on their black books.
Ogunmola who accused some of the lawyers in the courtroom of habouring the cultists, said he had received several threat messages from the cult members, even as he said he would remain undeterred in the fight to give the Sango Magistrate Court the deserved legal face.
A female lawyer, among those Ogunmola accused of conniving with the cultist however defended herself by saying he had no dealing with the miscreants and has no inkling to what Ogunmola was accusing her of.
The argument which was at a point turning rowdy was cut short by another lawyer who resolved the matter by suggesting that the judge, Mr. Ojikutu, should discontinue the argument while the matter be tabled before the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Ikorodu Branch, for hearing and amicable settlement.
The judge who allowed the plea to go so that proceedings for the day could commence however said the court would also set up a committee to look into the matter and come up with a resolution to check the visibly growing menace.
By Gboyega Adeoye