Activities at the Osun State high courts have been brought to a halt on Tuesday, following a peaceful protest by members of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Osun state chapter.Members of the association were protesting over what they termed as the “unilateral and arbitrary increment in filing fees” by the Osun state government.
With placards placed around the entrance gate, men of the bar declined to work, asking all its members to down their tools until government reverts to the old fees.
Addressing journalists in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, Chairman of the NBA, Oshogbo branch, Ashafa Sanusi, said the government had through the Principal Registrar of the State High Court, Taiwo Jacob, announced increment in filling fees with immediate effect.
Mr Sanusi said to fill a writ of summon, has now been increased to 4,000 to 40,000 Naira, while a divorce petition has also jumped from 3, 000 to 25,000 Naira.
This according to him, was unacceptable to the NBA, hence, they would not allow the new fee regime to be effected.
“We are gathered here to protest against the unilateral and arbitrary increment in the filling fees which the NBA generally is opposing vehemently and we a have instructed our members that no process should be filed based on this arbitrary increment in the filling fee until the government reverse to the normal filling fee.
“The court should not be made as a source of making money, we all know that courts is the last hope of the common man but with this increment in the filling fee, it clearly indicates that court is no longer the last hope of the common man.
“The NBA we all know, is a stakeholder as far as bar and bench is concerned, the NBA was not consulted before the increment in the arbitrary fee and that is why as the mouthpiece of the common man, we are strongly opposing increment because it is not fair, it is unreasonable and not in the interest of the common man.
“The court should not be given access to rich people alone. We believe that the bench cannot be alone without the bar and that is why we are calling on government to quickly reverse its decision otherwise we will continue our strike,” he stressed.
While, the Chief Registrar, Lawrence Arojo, was not available to comment on the development, the Permanent Secretary, Minister Of Justice, Biola Odewemimo, said the government would react later.
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