By Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government on Tuesday charged members of the Standing Tribunal of Inquiry into Chieftaincy Matters in the state to be above board.
Speaking at the Second Induction Course of the Standing Tribunal of Inquiry into Chieftaincy Matters in the State in Ikeja, Commissioner for Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Wale Ahmed said in the discharge of their responsibilities to resolve chieftaincy disputes in Lagos, members must be of high integrity.
He said integrity would make them successful in the discharge of their responsibilities effectively by not taking sides with any party in a dispute.
According to him, the responsibilities placed on members of the tribunal were enormous, as they were to ensure that peace reigned in traditional domains in Lagos, adding that members should have the fear of God in the discharge of their duties.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Moyo Onigbanjo said the tribunal was set up several years ago because of incessant chieftaincy disputes being recorded in the state occasioned by the demise of a traditional ruler and the need to fill the vacant stool.
He said the tribunal was to help in managing such disputed crisis to bring about amicable solution to thorny issues, adding that the tribunal was to serve as a bridge between the government and chieftaincy matters.
Chairman, Standing Tribunal of Inquiry into Chieftaincy Matter, Hon. Justice Titilola Ojikutu-Oshode (Rtd) said rising chieftaincy disputes in courts across the state in the past made the state government set up the tribunal.
She said the induction and orientation programme was a requirement for the effectiveness of the tribunal, in view of the fact that many members of the tribunal were not legal practitioners.
According to her, the objectives of the induction programme was to enable tribunal members realize and recognize the enormity of their responsibilities; learn more about the terms of reference given to the tribunal; provide tribunal members with basic skills required to be competent and effective; provide ‘in-court’ observation of court practice and other aspects of pleadings, filing, representation and judgment process, among others.
Ojikutu-Oshode said the Tribunal had been holding public hearings since its inception in 2001 and that it has handled over 50 chieftaincy cases since 2014 when she took over as the chairman.
She said it was in a bid to bring chieftaincy disputes to a minimal level that the state government organized this second induction training to acquaint members of the tribunal with the chieftaincy laws so that they would know how better to handle chieftaincy disputes.
“I am in no doubt that the integrity and standing of the tribunal is to be jealously safeguarded, and we undertake to do so to the best of our ability and to justify the confidence reposed in us by our appointment by the Governor of Lagos State.
“It is my humble view that this educative and enlightening forum will therefore be of immense benefit to the tribunal members in discharging their responsibilities,” Ojikutu-Oshode said.
At the three-day training as facilitators are: Justice Habeeb Abiru of the Appeal Court, Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the High Court of Lagos, Justice Olusola Williams, a retired Justice of the High Court.
Some members of the tribunal at the event are: Engr. Jimoh Kazeem, Mrs Mariam Olaniyi, Mr. Nojeeb Agunbiade and Chief Oladapo Atinshola.
*Kazeem Ugbodaga is the Editor, PM NEWS. Contact him through his e-mail: email@example.com or his mobile phone: +2348052001378.