Nigerian Court: Temple or Shrine of Justice?

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By Felix E. Onofua, Esq.

Will you agree there is gulf-dichotomy between a temple and a shrine? It is my firm assertion that a temple is known for its unique and well-conditioned features and fittings as opposed to a shrine.


It is a notorious fact that the court of Law is a “Temple of Justice” and its practitioners are “Ministers” in the temple of Justice. However, my recent visit to courts outside the Federal Capital Territory tends to reveal that some courts are better referred to as ‘shrine’ rather than ‘temple’ with regard to it’s nature and manner of proceedings. We have seen cases where court sitting was conducted under trees just like “Mr. Ibu” taking oath before “Okonkwo” and other onlookers in “Igbadu shrine”

To say the least, some shrine are well kept and appealing than some of our courts situated in remote areas of Nigeria, not to talk of the respect and dignity attached to the shrine itself which is lacking in such courts. I say this without apology; the shrine of Ayelala in Edo State is more dreaded than some court in Nigeria. This is because most of our court has lost its intended sacredness. Haven’t you witness a litigant receiving call during court sitting or lawyers discussing in high tone without any caution during sitting in some courts? I have witnessed it in plethora of cases. It is sardonic that the Judiciary isn’t accorded with the requisite infrastructures. Not until the needful is done, Litigants would never see the need to accord the respect due to the Judiciary.

The respect and dignity of our legal profession should be our utmost priority. Our learned silk, proposed members of the inner bar and senior members of the Bar shouldn’t dwell on renovating / constructing kings’ palaces, market places, roads and taking up only pro bono cases but also ensure befitting courts are built or renovated. We shouldn’t leave it for the National Judicial Council,  Federal Judicial Service Commission or the respective States Judicial Service Commission alone. In so doing, our Noble Court would continually be  referred to as a “Temple of Justice”  and not a “Shrine of Justice”




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