HomeBar and BenchLawyers Protest Two Years Non-Appearance of Judges at Nsukka High Courts

Lawyers Protest Two Years Non-Appearance of Judges at Nsukka High Courts

Date:

  • Decry virtual hearing without requisite transmission facilities

Lawyers in Enugu North Senatorial District of Enugu State on Tuesday protested against the non-appearance of judges for the past two years in high courts in the area.

The lawyers had stormed the Nsukka High Court of Justice as early as 7:30 am in their numbers, blocked the entrance and exit roads to the court with their vehicles for several hours while chanting solidarity songs.

Addressing the media during the protest, Mr Sonny Okoro, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Nsukka Branch said that they resorted to peaceful protest to let authorities and the general public know that the court system is not working in Enugu North Senatorial District for over two years.

“For the past two years, judges of the high court have not been appearing physically in courts in Nsukka zone but said that they are using virtual sitting.

“We have no problem with virtual proceedings of the court because it is recognised by law, but here in the Nsukka zone, the courts have no virtual facilities.

“That is why most time they use the court clerk’s mobile phone or one old computer system to connect Nsukka court and the judge who is staying in Enugu.

According to the NBA Chairman, the same judges who alleged that their reason for not appearing physically in courts was because of insecurity along Enugu-Ugwogonike-Opi Nsukka Road are telling us (lawyers) to bring our litigants and witnesses to Enugu  for court proceedings.

“Now, our question is, are the lawyers, litigants, and witnesses immune from the insecurity in the Enugu to Nsukka road which the judges are avoiding?

“This present situation has prolonged and denied justice to many litigants as some of them are wondering why their cases have continued to linger and incur additional costs traveling to Enugu from Nsukka to hear their cases.

“We are surprised that the judges are citing insecurity on the Enugu to Nsukka road as the reason for their non-physical appearance in the court when the state government had beefed up security on that road by deploying armored tanks and many security checkpoints on that road,” he said.

Speaking further, Okoro explained that the association has written several letters to the judiciary stakeholders in the state especially the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Hon Justice Raymond Ozoemena to restore normalcy in high courts in Nsukka Zone but to no avail.

“NBA has written so many letters to this effect to Enugu Chief Judge, and in our last letter to him on December 2023 we told him that we would resort to protest if by January 2024 the situation did not improve.

“We urge the Enugu State government to help us intervene to ensure that normal court proceedings resume in high courts in Enugu North Senatorial District.

“If after this protest judges did not resume physical court sitting, lawyers in Nsukka zone will start boycotting high courts proceedings,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Desmond Ezema, Chairman NBA Obollo-Afor branch, confirmed that lawyers and litigants in the district have been facing a difficult time for the past two years due to the non-physical appearance of high court judges in the courts.

Ezema appealed to judiciary stakeholders and the Enugu State Government to intervene and accord the matter the adequate attention it deserves so as to restore normal court activities in high courts in the area.

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