THE OGUN CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL – A BRIEF PROFILE
Section 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as Amended, established the Judicature, comprising of Courts established for the Federation and the States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Specifically, Section 6 (5) of the Constitution, enumerates the Courts to which that section relates, all of which shall have ‘all the powers of a superior court of record’. One of those courts is the Customary Court of Appeal of a State. The Ogun State House of Assembly (The Seventh Legislature) passed into law, the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal Law 2011, which was assented to by the Governor, His Excellency Senator Ibikunle Amosun FCA, on 5th September 2011.
With the approval of the Governor of Ogun State Prince (Dr) Dapo Abiodun MFR, the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal was formally constituted by the administration of Honourable Justice M. A. Dipeolu FICMC, Chief Judge of Ogun State, on 8th January 2020, with the swearing-in of the Honourable President and Judges of the Court.
On the jurisdiction of the Customary Court of Appeal, Section 282 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended provide:
(1) “A Customary Court of Appeal of a State shall exercise appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of customary law.
(2) For the purposes of this section, a Customary Court of Appeal of a State shall exercise such jurisdiction and decide such questions as may be prescribed by the House of Assembly of the State for which it is established.”
Pursuant to the above provisions, the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal Law 2011 provides in Sections 48(1) and 53(1) thus:
“Subject as otherwise provided in this Law, the Court shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine civil appeals from Customary Courts in the State.”
“The Court shall have all the jurisdiction ………………
The Law in Section 38(2) also confers original jurisdiction on the Court in certain limited matters involving a Local Government Council or any of its agencies, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and Acts of the National Assembly.
Accordingly, the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal exercises appellate and supervisory jurisdiction over Customary Courts in cases involving land, marriage, inheritance, guardianship and custody of children, as well as in prerogative orders. The CCA is constituted by a Hon. President and Judges whose brief personal resumes are stated hereunder.
HONOURABLE JUSTICE MOBOLAJI AYODELE OJO – HON. PRESIDENT, OGUN STATE CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL
Hon. Justice Mobolaji Ojo attended the University of Lagos from where he obtained his LL.B (Hons) Degree and later a Master of Laws (LL.M) Degree. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984. Hon. Justice Ojo was in private practice until he was elevated to the High Court Bench in October 2000. His Lordship served meritoriously in several Judicial Divisions of the High Court of Ogun State, namely, Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Igbo, Ota and Abeokuta, before he was appointed as the pioneer President of the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal on 8th January, 2020. His appointment remains a vote of confidence in the competence and ability of Hon. Justice M. A. Ojo to steer the ship of the new Court and position it for the future.
HON. JUSTICE ADEBISI OLUSOLA FEMI-SEGUN, HONOURABLE JUDGE, OGUN STATE CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL
Hon. Justice Femi-Segun was born on 17th February, 1961 to Chief David Adeyemi Coker (Ogboye of Ilaro) and late Deaconess Mrs. Lucian Adetoro Coker (Nee Ibikunle). She attended Yejide Girls Grammar School, Ibadan between 1972 and 1976 where she obtained her Secondary School Certificate. She then proceeded to Abeokuta Grammar School for her A/Levels.
His Lordship bagged her Law degree from the prestigious University of Ife, Ile-Ife in 1987, and was called to the Nigeria Bar in 1988. Her legal career started at the Federal Ministry of Justice where she served as a Senior State Counsel, Department of Public Prosecution between 1989 and 1995. She also was an Assistant Legal Adviser on secondment to the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
His Lordship joined the Lagos State Judiciary in 1996 as Magistrate Grade I and rose through the ranks to the position of Chief Magistrate 1. Until her appointment, Hon. Justice Femi-Segun was the Deputy Chief Registrar (Admin) Lagos Judicial Division, High Court of Lagos State.
His Lordship is a devout Christian and an ordained Deaconess of House on the Rock Church, Lekki. She was married to Late Olufemi Enitan Segun, a former diplomat and polyglot. They were blessed with a daughter. Hon. Justice Femi-Segun was appointed into the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal on 8th January, 2020.
HONOURABLE JUSTICE MICHAEL KOLAWOLE PETERS, HONOURABLE JUDGE, OGUN STATE CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL
Hon. Justice K. M. Peters was born on 4th May, 1967 to the family of Late Mr. J.M.A. Peters of Ake, Abeokuta and Late Mrs. S.A. Peters (Nee Desile) of Itoko, Abeokuta. For his primary school education, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas Primary School, Surulere, Lagos from 1973 – 1979 and proceeded to Igbobi College School III, Igbobi, Lagos in 1980. His Lordship attended Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University) from 1987 to 1990 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in December 1992. His Lordship underwent the compulsory National Youth Service Scheme between 1992 – 1993. In 1993, His Lordship worked as an Associate in the Law Firm of Nzelu & Associates, Enugu State. He also worked in the Law Firm of Alade Agbabiaka & Co, Lagos; and further practised as Principal Solicitor, Kolawole Peters & Co. from 1995 until 1997, when he was appointed as a Magistrate Grade I, by the Ogun State Judiciary.
His Lordship rose through the ranks to become a Chief Magistrate Grade I and was later appointed as the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission, Ogun State. His Lordship has held numerous leadership positions during his rise to the bench and is an ordained Pastor. He is happily married to Aderonke Peters and their marriage is blessed with three wonderful children. His Lordship was appointed into the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal on 8th January, 2020.
HONOURABLE JUSTICE ANTHONY OLUSESAN ARABA, HONOURABLE JUDGE, OGUN STATE CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL
Hon. Justice A. O. Araba was born on 5th November, 1968 at Ibadan, Oyo State. His primary school education commenced at Army Children School, Dodan Barracks, Lagos; after which he proceeded to Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, Ijebu-Ode for his Secondary Education. He later attended Federal School of Arts and Science, Victoria Island, Lagos for his Higher School Certificate and thereafter gained admission into the former Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University), Ago-Iwoye to study Law. After his LL.B, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in December, 1993. His Lordship observed his mandatory National Youth Service in Lagos at the Law Firm of Oditah, Adebiyi & Co., Lagos Island where he worked for three years before moving on to the Law Firm of Ajuji, Waziri & Co., also on Lagos Island.
Hon. Justice Araba was appointed a Magistrate Grade 1 in the Ogun State Judiciary in June 1999. He rose through the ranks and was appointed Deputy Chief Registrar 1 in 2015, a position he held until January 2020, when he was sworn in as a Judge of the Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal on 8th January, 2020. He is a devout Christian, married and blessed with lovely children.
The Ogun State Customary Court of Appeal is located at the Ogun State Judiciary Annex at Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State.