You can’t conduct court proceedings in Yoruba, former CJ tells Lagos speaker

Mudashiru Obasa

The immediate past Chief Judge (CJ) of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Philips, has told Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, it would be impossible to conduct court proceedings in the state in Yoruba Language.

Justice Phillips spoke on Thursday during the confirmation of her appointment as chairman of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC).

Obasa had earlier told the retired judge that the new job would require her to go round the state unlike when she was the CJ.

“You will now need to visit all the Local Government Areas in the State during the registration for the election and during the election proper. You must be ready to do the job as required so that we could have a free and fair election. We count on you since you were successful during your tenure as the chief judge,” he said.

He then asked if it was possible to start speaking Yoruba in courts in the state.

Justice Philips said that this would be impossible as some of the people who come to the courts would not understand the language.

“Some of the people who come to the court do not understand Yoruba Language and when you start speaking Yoruba in the court it would be a ground for appeal for someone who does not understand Yoruba Language,” she said.

Justice Philips, who was invited to the House to defend her nomination as LASIEC chairman, said during plenary that she was prepared for the job.

She said that although it would halt her retirement, which she had enjoyed for some time now, she was ready to serve the state.

Some of the lawmakers who contributed during her appearance observed that she served the state meritoriously during her tenure as the chief judge.

The 62-year-old, who handed over as CJ to her sister, Justice Funmilayo Atilade, in July 2014, was nominated as LASIEC chairman by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode through a letter sent to the House few weeks back.

Clerk of the House, Mr. Sanni Azeez, was Thursday ordered to communicate the confirmation of her appointment to Ambode through another letter.