…Onnoghen not under trial, but Nigerian democracy —ex-Rivers AG
By Samuel Oyadongha, Festus Ahon, Perez Brisibe, Chioma Onuegbu, Davies Iheamnachor
YENAGOA—The directive of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, to its members to boycott courts to protest the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari paralysed activities in courts in Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.
Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen,
In Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, members of the NBA executives were seen monitoring the compliance at the state high courts as well as the Federal High Court in Onopa area of Yenagoa.
Litigants whose cases were slated for hearing, were turned back from the courts.
“I had expected to see my lawyer here today having given him the mandatory transport cost few days ago, it was only when I called that he informed me of the position of the NBA,” a litigant said.
Mrs Dise Ogbise-Ehisere, Chairman of Sagbama Branch of NBA said, lawyers in the two branches of NBA in Bayelsa, complied with the directive of the national leadership of NBA.
In Rivers State, the body mobilised lawyers in a peaceful protest to magistrate courts, state and federal high courts, national industrial courts and Appeal Court in Port Harcourt, in compliance with the NBA directive.
Speaking, Mr. Sylvester Adaka, the chairman of NBA in the state said: “It is not that NBA is encouraging corruption in any way, all we are saying is that there is a process which must be followed.”
He, however, appealed on litigants who would be affected by the suspension of work for two days by the NBA not to panic, explaining that the move was to end executive’s disobedience to the rule of law.
In Delta State, courts were also shut. The NBA in the state applauded its members over what it described as a “substantial boycott” of the court as ordered by the national executive council of the association following the suspension of the CJN.
In Akwa Ibom State, the Judiciary headquarters on Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, was deserted as lawyers in the state joined their colleagues across the country on a two-day protest.
Onnoghen not under trial, but Nigerian democracy —ex-Rivers AG
Meanwhile, former Attorney General of Rivers State, Barinua Wifa, SAN, has opined that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, was not under trial, but the country’s democracy that is under trail.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, yesterday, he noted that the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend Onnoghen and appoint Justice Tanko Mohammed was “hasty and did not follow the constitution of the nation.”