Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Judiciary in Anambra State, on Monday, vowed that it would no longer accept any act of intimidation, threats and harassment on its members by any agency or persons.
Sounding the warning during the Special Court Session at the Anambra Judiciary headquarters, Awka, to mark the commencement of the 2018/2019 legal year in the state, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Prof. Ilochi Okafor, said the both the Bar and Bench in the state had taken enough harassment.
Prof. Okafor, a former Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, who spoke as the most senior member of the Bar present, condemned what he called recent acts of intimidation on judicial officers in the state by Senior Police Officers, and members of the public, including politicians.
He said, “Threats, killings and physical assault are serious threats of the judiciary. Most of our colleagues have passed through this several times in Anambra, and we must not let this continue to happen.”
Okafor cited instances of such intimidations including that of a Judge in the state who according to him was threatened “through a verifiable phone number” but the police did nothing about it.
The same Judge he said was also accosted while going home from work and held hostage in his car.
He further disclosed that there was a case of a magistrate who was bullied by a Police (a DPO) for daring to disobey his order in a criminal matter he was handling.
He said, “These acts of intimidation must stop. The Judiciary cannot be cowed or intimidated. The Bench and Bar must fight this together, because if we are caged, justice is caged.
“I am calling on the Honourable, the Chief Judge to immediately meet with other stakeholders and schedule for a meeting with the Commissioner of Police (CP) and Governor to see a way around this.”
Chief Judge of the state, Justice Peter Umeadi had earlier in his address reel out a long list of achievement by the state judiciary within the legal year and charged both Bar and Bench to work harder in the new legal year.