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Women Take Over Lagos Judiciary

aloma-mariam-mukhtarThe old saying that what a man can do, a woman can do better is presently playing out in the Lagos State Judiciary. Before now, male judges and magistrates dominated the state judiciary just like in other states of the federation. Female judges simply took the back seat while their male counterparts took the leadership position. The situation has however changed as women are now in charge.

Statistics obtained by our correspondent from the state Ministry of Justice revealed that of the 184 judicial officers in the state judiciary, 128 are female. The statistics also showed that only 17 of the 52 high court judges in the state are men.

Also, 11 out of the 13 judges next in rank to the state chief judge are women. The current chief judge, Justice Ayotunde Phillips, who is also a woman is closely followed in rank by three female judges. The CJ is closely followed in rank by her sister, Justice Atilade. The first ranking male judge is in the fourth position while the next male judge after him is in the 12th position.

The following is a list of the first thirteen judges in the state and how they stand in order of ranking: Justice A. A Phillips (Chief Judge) (F), Justice F.O Atilade (F), Justice O.O. Oke (F), Justice O.A. Adefope-Okogie (F), Justice K.O. Alogba (M), Justice D.T. Okuwobi (F) Justice A.O. Kayode-Ogunmekan (F), Justice Y.O. Idowu (F) Justice T.A. Oyekan-Abdullai (F) Justice Ojikutu-Oshode (F) Justice A. Olateru-Olagbegi (M) Justice D.O. Oluwayemi (F), Justice G.M. Onyeabo (F) and Justice O.A. Ipaye (F).

At the magisterial section of the judiciary the issue of female dominance is also the same. Statistics show that of the 14 chief magistrates (Grade I) only three are men while all the nine chief magistrates (Grade II) are women. Although the first two ranking magistrates are men, they are closely followed in ranking by nine female magistrates. Of the 16 chief magistrates (grade 11) only two are male while 14 are female. In the 57 senior magistrates (grade 1&2 categories) 19 are male while 38 are female. In the magistrates (grade 1&2) levels, 4 are men while 14 are female.

The foregoing statistics clearly show that women dominate in the state judiciary and going by the 65 years old retirement age for all civil servants and the Lagos State Government principle of appointment in the judiciary, the dominance of female judges and magistrates may continue for more than two decades.

Some lawyers who spoke to P.M.NEWS on the issue said the current dominance of women in the state judiciary has both positive and negative implications.
Barrister Robert Ikem in his comment said the development is a positive one for the state judiciary as women are less susceptible to corruption.

“I believe the development is a good one for the state judiciary. We all know that women are less susceptible to corruption. I am not saying that all men are corrupt but the fact remains that women are less likely to be corrupt than women. Secondly, I believe that women make better administrators than men. So in terms of effectively administering the judiciary, I believe the women will do better,” he said.

Another lawyer Mr. Benjamin Umudjoro, however, said the dominance of women in the state judiciary may not all be positive for the third arm of government.
Mr. Umudjoro said though women judges may be better administrators than their male counterparts, some women judges in the state are very lazy.

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