23rd March, 2012
Modalities have been put in place to enable magistrates in Lagos State to sit on Saturdays, a judicial officer said on Thursday in Lagos.
The officer, who pleaded anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria of Nigeria (NAN) that the magistrates had not been able to sit on Saturdays since last year because of logistic problems.
The officer expressed the hope that the Saturday sittings would facilitate justice administration.
NAN reports that the Saturdays sitting, conceived last year, is in tune with the state’s Magistrates’ Court Law, 2009.
It is aimed at the timely disposal of cases, de-congestion of prisons and protection of human rights.
The development would enable magistrates to hear cases of suspects arrested on a Friday instead of keeping such people in police custody until Monday.
Meanwhile, some lawyers have said that the Saturday sittings would overburden the magistrates.
Mr. Gbenga Adefarasin noted that magistrates were accustomed to working from Monday to Friday, and could be over tasked by Saturday sittings.
Adefarasin urged that the state government suspended the Saturday sittings to allow magistrates some time to rest.
Mr. Femi Adetunji also doubted the effectiveness of the Saturday sittings.
“The extra working day will be difficult to cope with,” he said.
Mr. Spurgeon Ataene urged that justice administration “should have a human face and take into cognisance human peculiarities.”
“If the prisons cannot be de-congested throughout the five working days, I wonder what change Saturday sittings will make in the administration of justice.