Lawyer With Disability Protests Lack of Facility at FHC Lagos; Justice Buba Responds!

Daniel Onwe

Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court Lagos today demonstrated the words of the Roman Philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca “that wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity to show kindness.” He boldly apologized in open court to Mr. Daniel Onwe, a lawyer with disability on behalf of the Federal High Court Lagos for its inability to provide the needed support to him and others who are living with various disability.

The story is that Mr. Onwe, who is also the President of the Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) and a  human rights lawyer, arrived the Federal High Court, IKoyi, Lagos on Tuesday the 14th of February, 2014 to handle a human rights matter before Honourable Justice Hassan and was unable to find a parking space within his peculiar walking distance to the court premises

Consequently, Mr. Onwe spent so much time moving from one point to the other and being tossed by security men who were not able to assist him with a space to park. After driving round the Court’s vicinity to no avail and upon being informed that the Court of Justice Hassan had started sitting, Mr. Onwe became desperate. The only space he could find which was close to the judges’ entrance was deliberately obstructed with some tyres by the Security men, left with no other choice, he dared the security men and did the unthinkable.

He parked his car at the Judges’ entrance gate and went inside the court premises ignoring the protest by security men.

Done with his matter and out of the courtroom, Mr. Onwe was met by distraught Security men who informed him that Justice Buba demanded to see the lawyer who had the effrontery to obstruct Judges’ entrance with his car.

Mr. Onwe immediately went to the court of Justice Buba accompanied by a security man. Sighting Mr. Onwe, Justice Buba, who was still sitting, directed him to step forward and to the utter amazement of all the lawyers in his court apologized profusely to Mr. Onwe for the inability of the Federal High Court Lagos to provide facilities that would aid the disabled. He observed that these facilities exist at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court and ought to be available in Lagos Court.

He then in addition to the open apology, directed that Mr. Onwe should henceforth be allowed to drive his car into the Court premises and given a suitable parking space inside the court premises.

Meanwhile while Mr. Onwe was still in court the four tyres of his cars were deflated by some over zealous security men who claimed to have acted on the order of the judge. Mr. Onwe returned to the Justice Buba, this time around, to plead not to be held for contempt for trying to inflate his tyres against the Judges’ orders as communicated by the security men. Justice Buba again directed that Mr. Onwe’s tyres should be inflated and undertook to bear the expense.

As at the time of filing this report, the directives of Justice Buba that Mr. Onwe should henceforth park his car in the premises of the Court has been communicated to the Deputy Chief Registrar who has also briefed the Federal High Court security unit for immediate compliance.

We join Mr. Onwe to appreciate the kindness of Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba.

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