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Lawyers boycott court in Benin over alleged judge’s highhandedness

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Lawyers under the aegis of the Benin City branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), yesterday, began boycott of High Court 6 presided over by Justice Courage Ogbebor over her purported arrogance and highhandedness.

The lawyers said there had been constant complaints from senior and junior colleagues over Ogbebor’s activities, including a situation where he asked a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to wait until the end of sitting.

“It is against our practice as once a SAN is in the court, no matter how many they are, the senior advocates are attended to first, but she kept a particular SAN till the end of her sitting,” a lawyer said.

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In a statement issued by Chairman and Secretary of the branch, Pius Oiwoh and Andrew Lawani, the lawyers said they took the decision after reviewing the development.

“The decision was taken at the monthly meeting of the Lion Bar held on August 1, 2021 in Benin City and attended by SANs, benchers, elders and leaders of the bar, the house after reviewing the complaints of lawyers.

“It was the second such review within two months with regards to the incessant harassment, intimidation, insults and embarrassment of counsel that appear in the court, including SANs and senior members of the bar, in the presence of clients.

“We have resolved unanimously to immediately commence an indefinite boycott of High Court 6, High Court of Justice, Benin City presided over by Justice Ogbebor.”

“Consequently, all members of the Benin Bar are by this notice directed to embark on total boycott of the court and are not permitted to carry out any business in the court until a subsequent review of the directive at the general meeting.

“Take notice that any member who flouts this directive under any guise shall be liable to be blacklisted at the branch and made to face its disciplinary committee,” the statement reads.

Attempts to contact the Registrar, Edo State High Court, Benson Osawaru, were unsuccessful, as he did neither took repeated calls, nor replied to text message sent to his mobile telephone at the time of filing this report.

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