Justice O. Taiwo of the Lagos High Court, on Tuesday, threatened to slam a N100, 000 fine on a counsel for failing to honour a court sitting.
The counsel, A. Oluwa, who was supposed to make appearance for one Maraimo Alimi, a first defendant in a land dispute, was said to have been caught up in traffic and had called Gani Bello, counsel to three other defendants, that he would not be available in court.
But, displeased with the development, Justice Taiwo said: “This is not fair on this court. This counsel is fond of not coming for this particular matter. He is one of the reasons why this case has dragged for two years. He should have left his house much earlier.
“Please tell him that if he fails to show up by next adjournment, I will impose a N100, 000 fine on him on each day he does not show up,” Justice Taiwo said.
But Ganiyu pleaded on his behalf, saying the charge was too exorbitant.
“My Lord, a N100, 000 fine in this economy will drive any counsel away from coming to court. The court is the last hope of the common man and we do come here so that people will not take law into their own hands,” he pleaded.
However, the Judge explained that it was the decision of the state court to impose the fine on erring counsels, so that they would stop prolonging cases unnecessarily.
The case, which began in 2016, involved a disputed twelve plots of land in the Aro area of Lagos State.
The claimants in the matter include Tajudeen Bamigba, Muritala Kayode, Toyin and Mustapha Seriki, Dele Abimbola, and Doyin Adeboye.
They claimed that Lekki World Wide Investment Limited, Kareem Bello, a chief in the area and Alimi, sold part of the land they had sold to them to another client.
However, the defendants disputed the claim.
The judge adjourned the case until March 20 over Oluwa’s absence, whose client was meant to be cross-examined.