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Oyo, Rivers states move to establish small claims court

The Oyo and Rivers States Government judiciaries have inaugurated Small Claims Judicial Committees to begin the process of establishing Small Claims Courts in their respective States.

Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business and the Secretary, Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Jumoke Oduwole, said this in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday.

According to her, the states are working in collaboration with PEBEC to establish the small claim court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PEBEC, in line with its mandate to make Nigeria a progressively easier place to do business, had worked with various State judiciaries over the years to improve access to justice.

It has been able to improve justice by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the establishment of Small Claims Courts in various states.

According to Oduwole, the objective of the court is to improve the judicial process by making it easier to resolve simple debt recovery disputes involving small claims of N5 million and below.

She said: “Judgements are expected to be delivered within 60 days for all claims filed in a Small Claims Court, with an additional 30 days for enforcement.

“The court also strongly encourages self-representation and adheres to strict timelines for important court events. So far, Small Claims Courts have been established in Lagos, Kano, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Jigawa, and Nasarawa States.’’

Oduwole said the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Munta Abimbola, inaugurated the Small Claims Judicial Committee for the establishment of the court in Oyo State on Nov. 22.

She said while inaugurating the committee, the judge emphasised the importance of Small Claims Courts in expediting simple financial cases.

“Abimbola later charged the committee, to be chaired by Justice O.S. Adeyemi, to diligently carry out its mandate in accordance with the PEBEC guidelines and submit its report within 14 days.”

According to Oduwole, the Chief Judge of the Rivers State Judiciary, Justice Simeon Amadi, similarly inaugurated a committee on Nov. 4 to oversee the creation of the court in the state.

“During the inauguration, the Chief Judge of Rivers State Judiciary, asserted that even though the state appeared to be starting late in establishing the court, it is spurred to start well and overtake others who started earlier. The Committee will be chaired by Justice C. D. Green,’’ she said.

PEBEC was established in July 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari to remove critical bottlenecks and bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria, with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as Chairman of the Council.

It has since 2017, continued to collaborate with subnational governments, including the State Judiciary, to implement reforms targeted at making it easier to do business in all 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Caleb Ijioma

Reporter

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