OGOJA: Campaign To Rescue And Repair Magistrate Court Sold To Lawmaker Raises N1.75 Million In Hours

In Breaking News, National News, Politics, Reports

By Ushang Ewa

The campaign to rescue and repair Court 2 of the Ogoja magisterial division says two lawmakers have pledged NGN1.75 million for the repair of a Magistrate Court in Ogoja, northern Cross River that was allocated by the State to a lawmaker to build his personal house.

“Federal lawmaker, Jarigbe Agom and State lawmaker, Peter Odey, both natives of Ogoja Local Government Area have pledged NGN1.5 million and NGN250,000 respectively, to this cause which overshoots our initial projection of NGN1.5 million for immediate repairs to a habitable standard,” read a statement signed by the campaign’s coordinator, Agba Jalingo and secretary, Jonathan Ugbal.

What Happened?

On Saturday last week, workers arrived the premises of Court 2 and began work on the site on the directives of Mr. Odey who is the Leader of the Cross River State House of Assembly.

Mr. Odey told this Newspaper that the land was allocated to him and claimed he never knew it was a Court premises. According to him, if he knew the Court was dilapidated, he would have aided its renovation.

However, arrests of workers on Saturday by the Police and on Monday by the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps, Mr. Odey directed that work stops at the site while the Ogoja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association filed a Motion on Notice seeking to restrain anyone from accessing the premises for work. A High Court in Ogoja granted a restraining order pending the determination of the suit with the Motion slated for hearing tomorrow, Thursday.

The Funds?

And, following reports that the Court had been abandoned for more than two decades, a citizens initiative birthed to raise funds to renovate the structure to a basic habitable standard.

And, the campaign said since the sum raised exceeded initial projections in a few hours, the crowdfunding link will be deactivated immediately and assured that every dime will be accounted for as it intended to use direct labor.

Read the statement from the campaign which is a citizen’s led initiative with support from the Reclaiming Our Civic Space project implemented by CrossRiverWatch and We The People in full below;

Campaign To Rescue And Repair Ogoja Magistrate Court 2 Raises 1.75 Million Naira In 9 Hours

The Campaign to rescue and repair the building which houses Court 2 of the Ogoja magisterial division in northern Cross River State wishes to inform the public that in less than 10 hours after a crowdfunding link was created, NGN1.75 million has been raised.

Federal lawmaker, Jarigbe Agom and State lawmaker, Peter Odey, both natives of Ogoja Local Government Area have pledged NGN1.5 million and NGN250,000 respectively, to this cause which overshoots our initial projection of NGN1.5 million for immediate repairs to a habitable standard.

The crowdfunding link, launched on Flutterwave at 02:00HRS of the 17th day of March, 2021 will now be deactivated.

Why the campaign?

It is now public knowledge that the court room has been abandoned for over 25 years and anytime any Court is closed, it is the common man that suffers the most. There is a reason Courts are referred to as ‘the last hope of the common man.’ Courts provide a forum to resolve disputes and help to guarantee our rights to equal protection and due process under the law. Courts exist so that the equality of individuals and the state is reality rather than empty rhetoric. So closing a court room down for 25 years is a lot of disservice to the common man.

The Magistrate allocated that Courtroom currently sits on rotational basis with the Chief Magistrate in Court 1 which leads to a delay in the dispensation is of Justice, a situation akin to Justice been denied.

It is the people’s Court. It is not an alien Court. It is ‘We, The People’ that make up a government. And, like Police Stations, Courts belong to the people. They are the temples of Justice.

As we have joined forces to contribute to achieve this goal in such a short time, which has shown our resolve for a better society, remain assured that all contributions, including the last penny shall be dedicated to this project only, through direct labour and account shall also be rendered publicly.

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