The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) on Monday, directed all Heads of Courts to abide by previous circulars shutting down courts to hear only urgent, essential and time-bound matters.
He said this will be pending the outcome of a committee set up to come up with recommendations on how to leverage on technology and hold the business of courts even during the Covid-19 period.
The circular dated May 4, with Ref.No. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/658 May, 2020, was issued to all Heads of court in the Federal and State Judiciaries.
It is titled: Re: Implementation Guidelines For The Cobtainment of COVID-19 Issued by The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19
“This Circular is imperative following the Guidelines issued by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for the phased easing of the lockdown.
“And having regard to the fact that the National Judicial Council, as Your Lordships are aware, had constituted a Committee to, inter-alia, come up with urgent practical strategic measures to be instituted in order to ensure that Courts continue to function despite the lockdown and the COVID-19 Challenges.
“These measures are expected to include recommendations on how the Courts could leverage on Technology to hold virtual sittings or remote hearings.
“In addition, the National Centre for Disease Control had made an announcement to the effect that we are now at Community transmission phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Furthermore, it is a fact that many of our Judges and Justices are in the high-risk category in terms of age bracket, resulting in many having underlying condition that make them more vulnerable to the virulent manifestation of the disease once infected.
“Hence, we cannot afford to put them and their families at risk by allowing a haphazard resumption of Court without clear Guidelines and Protocols that will safeguard the health and wellbeing of the Judges, Lawyers, Court Staff as well as Members of the Public.
“It is however observed that some Courts, without awaiting the outcome of the NJC Committee, have resumed and continued to conduct proceedings as if normalcy has been restored.
” It is for the aforementioned reasons that all Heads of Courts and Judicial Bodies are directed to continue to abide by the NJC Circular No. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/656, dated April 6, 2020 until the following measures are put in place:
“Guidelines on the use of appropriate Technology on virtual or remote hearings issued by the NJC;
“Strategic measures and Guidance must be provided for Courts where physical hearings must be held and they must do so sparingly and in line with appropriate regulations and guidelines issued by the NJC, and the health protocols approved by the NCDC.
“This should cover things like access control, infrared temperature detector/thermometer, space requirement per person, physical distancing within the Court premises, protective gears, sanitation and periodic decontamination of the Courtrooms amongst other measures;
“Every Court/Judicial Body Administrator is required to provide adequate safety equipment like face masks and sanitary stations with hand washing facilities to the Judges, Justices, Staff and general Court users;
“In line with the Guidelines for the phased easing of the lockdown by the Presidential Task Force, only Staff on the Grade Level 14 and above shall resume duty.
“All Heads of Courts/Judicial Bodies are hereby directed to bring the content of this Circular to the notice of all Stakeholders in justice administration, please,” he said
Kogi: Appeal Court Vacates Inspection Order Granted to SDP by Tribunal
The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday, set aside the inspection order granted Murtala Ajaka, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) by the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Reports says that the tribunal had, on Nov. 25, 2023, granted an ex-parte order, allowing the SDP and its candidate in the Nov.
The three-member panel of justices led by Justice J.O.K. Oyewole, in a unanimous ruling, vacated the inspection order on the grounds that it went outside the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The appellate court held that while inspection is allowed under the Electoral Act, it must be jointly carried out with the respondents and the scope of the inspection should be within the strict limit allowed under the Electoral Act.
“The ex parte order made by the trial tribunal on the 25th November, 2023 at the instance of the 1st and 2nd respondents are within the jurisdictional competence of the said tribunal.
“However, paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ thereof are beyond the scope of Section 146 (1) of the Electoral Act 2022. The said paragraphs ‘g’, ‘k’ and ‘n’ are hereby expunged.
“The inspection purportedly done pursuant to the said orders of the trial tribunal without the presence of the appellant violates paragraph ‘h’ of the said orders and it is hereby set aside,” the panel ruled
Reports says that while the SDP was represented at the Court of Appeal by Pius Akubo, SAN; Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, appeared for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) .
Gov. Usman Ododo of Kogi was represented by J.B. Daudu, SAN, while the All Progressives Congress (APC) was represented by Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN.
Other members of the Appeal Court panel include Justices A. I. Banjoko and A.B. Mohammed.(NAN)
My Wife Attempted to Stab me, Husband Tells Abuja Court
A businessman, Mr Ojo Owo, on Friday told a Customary Court in Jikwoyi, near Abuja, that his wife, Muyibat, attempted to stab him with a knife.
His claims are contained in a divorce petition he filed against the woman.
“One night, my wife took the kitchen knife and attempted to kill me over a little misunderstanding.
“She boasted that she will destroy, kill or cripple me and reduce me to nothing and that when she finishes with me, my family will not recognise me,” he claimed in the petition.
The petitioner also told the court that the respondent is “so stubborn, disrespectful, mannerless, diabolical and unfriendly” with anyone around him.
According to him, the respondent’s constant fights have caused him to develop high blood pressure which he will be nursing for the rest of his life.
The petitioner further averred that he had to abandon his matrimonial home to save his life due to the intolerable behaviours of the respondent “who constantly threatens my life”.
He urged the court to dissolve his marriage and grant him custody of the children.
The respondent, Muyibat, also a businesswoman, however, denied the allegations.
The Judge, Thelma Baba, advised the couple to explore avenues for amicable settlement for the sake of the children, and adjourned the matter until March 7, for hearing. (NAN)
5 Docked for Allegedly Stealing 200 Bags of Cement Worth N2m
Five men were, on Thursday, arraigned before an Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court, Ibadan, for allegedly stealing 200 bags of Dangote cement, valued at N2 million.
The defendants, Sunday Asagunla, 19; Azeez Yisau, 19; Ayomide Oladejo, 18; Wasiu Kabiru, 25 and Raheem Yakubu, 42, are being charged with conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property.
The Prosecutor, Mr Philip Amusan, told the court that the defendants committed the offences at about 11. 30 p.m. on Feb. 21 at Oke-Ado area of Ibadan.
Amusan stated that Asagunla, Azeez, Oladejo and Kabiru stole the 200 bags of cement belonging to the complainant, Tunrayo Adeogun.
He further stated that Raheem received the bags of cement from them, knowing that they were stolen.
The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 516, 390(9) and 427 of the Criminal Laws of Oyo State, 2000.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.
The Magistrate, Olaolu Olanipekun, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N200,000 each, with two sureties each in like sum.
He, thereafter, adjourned the case till March 20 for hearing. (NAN)
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