As part of efforts to improve access to justice and make small businesses thrive, the Oyo State Judiciary under the initiative of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee (PEBEC) initiative of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Monday, launched the Small Claims Court to hear cases of liquidated debts not exceeding N5,000,000.00 (Five million Naira).
The Small Claims Court focuses on ensuring that liquidated debts not exceeding five million naira brought before the court are dispensed within 50 days, from filing to delivery of judgment via designated Magistrates’ Courts.
In her welcome address at the inauguration of the Small Scales Court in the premises of the High Court of Justice at Ring Road, the Chief Judge of Oyo State, Justice Iyabo Yerima, stated that there are two Small Claims Court; one in Iyaganku and the other in the premises of the High Court Complex at Ring road, adding that there will be another one that will be sited at the Ibadan North East Local Government in Iwo Road.
“There is also a designated Small Claims Court Registry at Iyaganku, which is separate from the general Registry. In addition, the Oyo State Judiciary website now has a Small Claims Court webpage where the Court’s Practice Directions and Handbook can be downloaded.
“The Judicial Committee on the Small Claims Court ably chaired by Hon. Justice O. S. Adeyemi is on hand to oversee and monitor the running and activities of the court to ensure that the court operates in line with the PEBEC regulations and guidelines always. Therefore, the Oyo State Judiciary in partnership with PEBEC officially launches the Oyo State Small Claims Court for the improvement of access to justice for the good people of Oyo State,” Justice Yerima stated.
In her address, Mrs Aimeya Okpebholo, a Senior Reform Leader at the PEBEC secretariat, who represented the Special Adviser to the President on PEBEC and Investments, said the court will go a long way in aiding the ease of doing business and also reduce the court dockets which are normally congested with simple commercial dispute which should not tie down small business ventures.
In her goodwill message, the chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan branch, Mrs Folasade Aladeniyi represented by her voice, Kunle Abimbola, while commending the judiciary for the establishment of the Small Claims Court which she said will allow for fast dispensation of cases relating to liquidated money, she appealed that the filing fees in the court should not be exorbitant so that people will not be discouraged.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Abiodun Aikomo, represented by Mrs Olubunmi Are, said the Court will play a viral role in addressing backlog of cases in the traditional court system and ensure that minor disputes are resolved expeditiously and in a cost effective manner.
“Its quick determination of commercial disputes will offer a valuable mechanism for businesses to resolve commercial disputes quickly, efficiently and cost effectively,” he added.