Lawyers have shunned the boycott order issued by the Nigerian Bar Association on Monday. report reaching us indicates that presently, cases are being heard at the Supreme Court with Justice Mary Peter-Odili presiding.
Also at the Federal High Court Lagos, Lawyers were seen in their numbers inside the courtroom waiting for the Judge’s arrival. Around 9:am, Justice Buba’s court was filled with at least two silks in court waiting for the day’s proceedings to start while Registrar of justice Faji was emphatic that the court is not sitting not because of the NBA directives.
At the Lagos High Court Ikeja, Justices Ogala and Akinlade are presently sitting while Justice Onigbanjo of the Lagos High Court Igbosere has just commenced sitting. At Justice Oyeabor’s court, the courtroom was filled with lawyers waiting for His Lordship to start sitting.
We spoke to a few lawyers who anonymously told us that they were in court to ensure that their matters do not proceed in their absence since there was no mechanism to enforce compliance.
A lawyer, Mr Olufemi Olabisi, when approached, described the directive by the NBA as useless, noting that the judges were not carried along.
He explained that if he stayed away from the court, the judge could strike out his client’s case, wondering who would account for the cost.
“I have a privity of contract with my client; the NBA has no input into how I got my employment and how I got my clients. So, the NBA cannot ask me to stay away from the court.
“The NBA directive is useless without carrying the judges along,” he said.
Olabisi, who works in the law firm of Mr Festus Keyamo (SAN), said he was in court to defy the directive by the NBA, stressing that he was even willing to take a case on pro bono just to defy the NBA.
When contacted on phone as to why his members shunned the directive of the national NBA, the Chairman, NBA Ikeja, Mr Dele Oloke, said he was still in Abuja, as the national NBA meeting finished late on Monday.
He added, “What we are doing is to save the integrity of the judiciary, which has been tormented in recent times. So, if on their own they believe that what we are doing is of no use to them, time will tell.
“As far as we are concerned, it will not be in a long while before a governor will go to a customary court to obtain an ex parte order to remove a judge. Then, they will have themselves to blame. But for us as Bar leaders, we will not shirk in our responsibilities to offer purposeful leadership.
“But if people are not seeing beyond their immediate nose and they can’t see into the larger picture, there is nothing we can do about it.
“History will be very kind to us that when we saw what was wrong, when we saw constitutional infractions, not only did we rebuke it, we walked the talk and for those who frustrate our effort history also will have a place for them.”