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NBA shuts down courts in Rivers, Cross River

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Empty court in Calabar, Cross River State, yesterday.


Lawyers in Rivers State yesterday shut down the Court of Appeal and Federal High Courts in Port Harcourt, in compliance with the directive by the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).The boycott was also extended to High Courts, Magistrate’s Courts and Customary Courts.

Port Harcourt Chairman of the NBA, Sylvester Adaka, led the lawyers to the Court of Appeal at Moscow Road, and the Federal High Court 7, where to stop the courts from sitting.

At the Rivers State Judiciary complex, the courtrooms were locked, as the judicial workers, lawyers and litigants complied with the directive. Adaka said the decisions to boycott the court yesterday should not be misconstrued as NBA’s endorsement for corruption, but rather it is agitating that due process as lucidly stipulated in the constitution must be followed. He appealed to persons and institutions that may have been adversely affected by the shutdown to bear with the NBA to safeguard Nigeria’s democracy.

“We have to make some sacrifice for the survival of our democracy. If we do not do things like this, we will face the kind of shutdown that we experienced in 2014 in Rivers State.One day, one man would roll out armour tanks and block the gate and say no more courts,” he added. Fayre Dikuo (SAN), urged the National Assembly to intervene since President Muhammadu Buhari seems incapable of reversing himself.

In Cross River State, lawyers from Calabar, Ikom and Ogoja, also stayed away from all the courts, even though civil servants were seen on duty in some of the courts that were opened.

The NBA members took to the streets of Calabar yesterday protesting against the suspension of Justice Onnoghen. The lawyers protested to the governor’s office on Diamond Hill with various placards as “No to Tyranny,” “Probe CCT Chairman, probe Tanko,” “We are not in a military era, let rule of law prevail.”

Others were “Justice Onnoghen we know, who is Tanko?” “NBA Calabar says no to executive rascality,” “Nigeria not a Banana Republic.”Vice Chairman of NBA, Calabar Branch, Julius Idiege, read a six-point demand before it was presented to the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu. Esu said: “Cross River is the home state of Justice Onnoghen. We have noted the efforts the NBA has made and the reactions all over the country.”


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