Onnoghen: Thugs attack NBA chairman, other lawyers in Rivers over court boycott directive

Onnoghen: Thugs attack NBA chairman, other lawyers in Rivers over court boycott directive

- Suspected thugs reportedly attacked the NBA chairman, Silvester Adaka, and other lawyers in Port Harcourt

- The lawyers were reportedly attacked when they staged a protest and attempted to court proceedings

- Adaka said he addressed the justices of the court of appeal and lawyers to rise in continuation of NBA peaceful boycott of the court only to be descended upon by the thugs

Some suspected thugs reportedly beat up the chairman of the Port Harcourt chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Silvester Adaka and other lawyers who had gone to stage protest to disrupt court proceedings.

Adaka and his colleagues had reportedly planned to disrupt the court proceedings in a bid to enforce the NBA’s court boycott directive over the controversial suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.

Daily Trust reports that angry litigants also chased the protesting NBA team out of the courtroom, causing pandemonium and heightening fear among the judges and other litigants.

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The presiding Appeal Court Judge, Justice A.A. Gumel, speaking on the incident, said it is unethical for the protesting lawyers to attempt to disrupt court proceedings, adding that the court ought to be respected.

His words: “You have seen people barged into our proceeding. This is incivility. We will not be intimidated. We will do our work. We are here to do a solemn job and we will give justice.

“The bar is entitled to respect the bench and the bench should carry the bar along. If the ethical behaviours handed to us by our fathers are maintained we will make headway.

“It is about all the courts and administration of justice and not just the Appeal Court in Rivers state.”

Another judge present in the court, Justice Isaiah Akeju, said that the panel was not officially notified of the NBA’s boycott order.

He added that notice ought to have been served on the bench concerning the boycott.

He said: “Advice your colleagues that it is not in their best interest to disrupt the sitting of the bench.

“We are not aware because they did not inform us. What stops them from doing a small notice to us on the issue.”

However, the Port Harcourt NBA chairman said they were in court for the continuation of their peaceful boycott of courts as directed by the national secretariat and national executive committee of NBA.

He said he addressed the justices of the court of appeal to rise in continuation of NBA peaceful boycott of the court and also appealed to lawyers to leave the court premises, only to be descended upon by some thugs.

His words: “But while we were there in court, a couple of thugs in the court premises attacked the lawyers there, the thugs zeroed in on me and a couple of lawyers.

“If not for the intervention of my colleagues around, I don’t know what would have happened.

“The court was sitting and continued sitting even after the attack on us and we felt that in an atmosphere that was charged like that, the court should have at least reasoned to allow tempers cool.”

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Meanwhile, following the suspension of Onnoghen by President Buhari, there are indications that the National Judicial Council may sack both the embattled CJN and the newly nominated CJN, Tanko Mohammed.

The Guardian reports that the NJC after an emergency meeting had abridge the usual 14 working days notice to issue to Onnoghen a seven-day ultimatum to respond to series of petition against him.

The council also mandated Mohammed to respond to the allegations of corruption and professional misconduct levelled against them within a-week.

The duo were also excluded from the meeting because they are both involved in the crisis leading to the election of a former president of the Court of Appeal Umaru Abdullahi as an interim chairman over the meeting.

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