Members of the Nigerian Bar Association, Osogbo branch, on Thursday locked out the Chief Judge of Osun State, Mrs. Adepele Ojo, during their protest against the hike in filing fees in courts across the state.
The lawyers said the state government unilaterally increased the fee for writ of summons from N4,000 to N40,000, while a divorce petition fee was upped from N3,000 to N25,000.
Oath was reportedly increased from N200 to N1,000.
Based on the increment, the lawyers started picketing courts across the state since Monday and the CJ, while coming to the state High Court, Osogbo, on Thursday, met the main gate locked.
The lawyers, who were monitoring the gate, refused to allow the CJ’s vehicle into the court premises despite pleas from some judicial officers around.
The Chief Registrar, Mr. Lawrence Arojo, appealed to the lawyers, but they remained adamant.
He said they ought to have explored every mechanism of addressing such issues before resorting to closure of the court’s gates.
One of the lawyers told our correspondent on the telephone that a meeting which the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola, held with the leadership of the NBA, ended in a stalemate.
The lawyer said Oyetola asked the lawyers to first open the court before negotiation, adding that the NBA insisted that the government must reverse the increment first.
The lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The Chief of Staff held a meeting with us and he said we should open the gates. But we told him that the government should also reverse the increment for just two weeks and we could talk.
“The two parties did not agree on anything and the gates will remain locked for as long as it takes to get justice on the matter.”