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Bandits force Niger magistrate courts to relocate

By Bala Yahaya, Minna
30 August 2022   |   4:13 am
Bandits’ attacks in some local councils of Niger State have forced magistrates to relocate their courts to the High Court complex in Minna, the state capital.

Bandits’ attacks in some local councils of Niger State have forced magistrates to relocate their courts to the High Court complex in Minna, the state capital.

The relocated courts include that of Kuta, and Gwada in Shiroro Local Council, Kafinkoro in Paikoro Local Council and Mariga in Mariga Local Council.

The Guardian learnt that the decision to relocate the courts was as a result of incessant armed bandits’ attacks in their area of jurisdiction.

It was gathered that an overseeing High Court Judge of Kuta, Justice Mohammed Adishetu Mohammed, has also relocated to Minna.

Also, some Sharia Court judges in the effected areas have also deserted their courts for fear of being kidnapped by the bandits.

A Sharia Court Judge of Erena in Shiroro was abducted last year. Also, heavily armed gunmen attempted to invade a Magistrate Court in Mariga in May this year, but a community vigilante group and local hunters swiftly repelled them.

However, a female Magistrate, who was to report to her court in Munya Local Council, narrowly escaped abduction along with her registrar along Minna–Gwada road on May 17, 2022.

The ugly trend has already crippled the speedy administration of justice in the state, as the fate of most litigants of pending cases in the courts hang in the balance.

In a telephone interview, the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Minna branch, Abdulkadir Waziri, stated that the trend really affected the effective administration of justice in the affected areas.

According to him, the purpose of creating those courts was for the community to get access to justice, which is their constitutional right, “and the security in these communities have already been eroded by these terrorist groups.”