Onnoghen: Court boycott necessary evil – lawyers

By Sandra Umeh
#TrackNigeria: Some Lagos-based lawyers on Tuesday described as a necessary sacrifice, boycott of courts by lawyers across the country in protest of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.

The lawyers told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that although the boycott might adversely affect them financially, it was necessary to safeguard the judiciary and uphold the rule of law.

NAN reports that Onnoghen was suspended on Jan. 25, following an allegation of non-declaration of assets.

He was charged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Jan. 14, on six-count charge.

President Muhammadu Buhari suspended Onnoghen following an order by the CCT. He appointed Justice Tanko Mohammed as the Acting CJN.

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In protest of the suspension, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), at an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee (NEC) on Monday, resolved to embark on a two-day nationwide court boycott.

The boycott is to hold on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A former Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of the NBA, Mr Onyekachi Ubani, described the boycott as a necessary sacrifice.

“It is very unfortunate that the boycott is happening at this time because many lawyers have fixed cases for trial, and some may be coming from outside for these trials, only to find boycott of courts.

“However, it is necessary; it is a sacrifice that every lawyer has to pay for the sake of protecting our judicial system.

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“It takes the bench and the bar to form an efficient judiciary.

“The boycott is a decision reached by the NEC of the NBA; I am sure NEC must have taken into consideration all these issues.

“We must support what the leadership of the bar has come up with,’’ he said.

Mr McAnthony Aikharialea, also a lawyer, said that although the boycott would adversely affect lawyers, it was a worthy cause.

“The situation at hand is a national problem that needs steps to guard the supremacy of the Constitution,’’ he said.

A rights activist, Mr Malachy Ugwummadu, said that individuals, groups and nations desiring to be great would need to make sacrifices.

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“What should be bothering us more is how to sustain the struggle.

“It is not enough to say we want to boycott. Do we have the temperament, resilience and resolve?” he asked. (NAN)

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