Lawyers Threaten To Cripple Oyo Judiciary Over N2,500 Fee, Pre-Action Protocol Rule
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ibadan branch, has threatened to boycott courts in the Oyo State capital over the recent increase in affidavit fees and the introduction of a Pre-Action Protocol Rule, both of which are contained in the Oyo State High Court Civil Procedure Rule, 2022.
In a letter addressed to the state judiciary, the NBA Ibadan chairperson, Folasade Aladeniyi, stated that the association will boycott all courts in the state if the Pre-Action Protocol Rule is not suspended and the affidavit fee is not reduced.
Aladeniyi argued that the Pre-Action Protocol Rule is “limiting and hindering the constitutional rights of litigants and legal practitioners to access the court to seek legal redress.”
The NBA chairperson warned that “lawyers would engage in total boycott of all the courts in the state if the rule was not suspended. The notice starts on November 6th, 2023 and will end on November 13th after which we will boycott the courts.”
She noted that the recent increase in affidavit fees from N1,100 to N2,500 is unreasonable and burdensome.
Her words, “…the recent increment in the fees for commissioning an affidavit on the new e-affidavit platform put in place by the Oyo State judiciary which was discovered to have been recently increased from N1,100 to N2,500 be reviewed downward.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that we are of the firm view that your lordship would consider and give effect to the Bar’s demands, as contained in this notice.
“This is to prevent avoidable occurrence of courts’ boycott and other lawful means to press home the Bar’s demands, if Oyo State judiciary fails to accede to the yearnings and demands of Bar,” she said.
The NBA Ibadan chairperson also called on the state government to provide more judges to address current workload and improve working conditions for judicial staff.
Aladeniyi urged the judiciary to engage with the NBA in a more transparent and consultative manner when making changes to court rules and procedures.
She also urged the state government to provide favourable working conditions for the judiciary to enable it perform its duties effectively.
“We need more judges; we should have up to 33 but now, we have only 20; this makes the judges to be over-laboured,” said the NBA chairperson.