And the door closed at Lagos court!

By ‘Dipo Onabanjo

When in March 2018, I got impatient with a company owing me some months in salary arrears, I sought direction  from a lawyer friend who advised me to take the matter to court.

I agreed with him but the question was which court to go since court cases take several years, as the wheel of justice here grinds rather slowly, sometimes annoyingly so.

My lawyer friend opted for the Lagos Multi-door Court House, an arbitration and dispute resolution centre. As the one versed in law, being a learned man who also read mass communication in the school I also attended, I asked him to handle the case. And he did, quite brilliantly.

By the first week in April 2018, we had held two mediation sessions at the high court complex on Lagos Island with a representative of the debtor company, and myself the complainant, in attendance. A debonair magistrate presided at the sessions.

I couldn’t believe my eyes that I was getting so close to justice at the drop of a hat! Indeed, on April 18, 2018, the magistrate ruled in my favour since the company only disputed the amount it owed me and we mutually agreed on an amount that should be paid in instalments within five months. I was very happy. It was my second time getting justice in a Lagos court.

By the end of May 2018, I received a bank alert for the first tranche! “Hey man”, I called my lawyer, “this justice is swift!” and I walked tall, crowing to anyone near me about what that blind lady with a pair of balanced scales holding a sword (the icon of Justice) had done to me! Then, the unexpected happened.

The company stopped paying! Two, three…..four months, no payments! I got hold of my lawyer friend and back we were at the multi-door courthouse. Certainly, Lady Justice would not allow her order disobeyed, and with impunity, by the erring company!

My lawyer filed all necessary papers and the waiting game started. The year 2018 went, 2019 followed. Then the Coronavirus became a world-wide pestilence in the year 2020. The year also came and went by.

Up till the time of writing, there has been no news about the case. The case file is lodged somewhere in the vault of the Lagos Multi-door House probably gathering dust. Neither I nor my lawyer could access it, tried as we did!

My interpretation: Justice has been locked against me in the Lagos Multi-door Court House! Since then, I have been seeking God’s intervention. I’ve pestered my lawyer so much that he has learnt to say, “Brother, calm down. Let’s exercise some patience.” But is it not said that justice delayed is justice denied?

Mine is a story told. But how many are Nigerians whose stories at various courts have not been told? How many of such people have died in the course of seeking justice? How many more will die, their prayers in court unanswered forever? Questions, questions and questions! No answer!

That’s why my ranting will not stop until somebody opens the door of the Lagos Multi-door House and gives me justice. I ask for nothing more.

Who will God send? The clock continues ticking while the waiting is getting painful, very painful!!!

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