Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of a Federal High Court Lagos, on Tuesday, warned lawyers and litigants against “paying” bailiffs to serve court processes on parties to a suit.
The judge said that the bailiffs were not supposed to charge extra fees from litigants in order to serve processes on parties.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent, who spoke to some lawyers, said it was fast becoming a norm that bailiffs had to be “tipped” or “mobilised” if they were to deliver court processes on parties.
According to them, lawyers who refuse to settle them may have their files abandoned or not treated.
NAN reports that on Tuesday, a lawyer who appeared before the judge in a case, complained that the defendants were yet to be served with court processes, even though he “mobilised” the bailiffs.
The lawyer said he gave the bailiffs N8,000.
Reacting, Justice Olatoregun asked the lawyer: “did you say you mobilised them, how much did you give them let me know if it was enough’’.
The judge then threatened to order the lawyer’s arrest for offering a bribe.
She also sent for the court’s registrar and bailiff.
“When you give a bribe, both of you are liable, we will get the Chief Registrar. You will be handed over to the police for bribing a bailiff and you will explain how you have been bribing bailiffs.
“That is how you will be collecting money from Senior Advocates of Nigeria when you become a judge.’’
Olatoregun, who is the Administrative Judge of the court’s Lagos Division, said that bailiffs were being paid salaries and allowances to do their jobs and so, required no further mobilisation.
After sending for the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court, the judge said she would deal with the matter in her chambers. (NAN)