Lawyers in Damaturu, Yobe State, disregarded the order the order by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to boycott the courts in protest against the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen. NBA branch chairman, Dr. Abubakar Bukar Kagu, in a statement yesterday in Damaturu said courts must be allowed to sit and advance the cause of justice for everyone.
He added that courts must also be allowed to operate and take decisions on Onnoghen’s suspension, and all other matters before them.“We respectfully give allegiance to the authority of the courts to deal with the matter, in line with rule of law and constitutionalism,” he said in the statement.
The branch chairman called on his members to shun any boycott of the courts across the state. According to him, members of the association should continue with their roles as prosecutors, judges, and attorneys.
Kagu said to boycott or resort to street actions on a matter that is before the courts are, by far a deviation from the fundamental principles that define the tenets of the legal profession and democracy. He noted that one of the cardinal roles of the bar is to protect the character and essence of courts and their processes.
Similarly, the Kano State branch of the NBA shunned the directive from the national body. Subsequently, the branch issued a counter order, urging its members to discountenance the NBA directive and go about their legal activities without fear or favour.
A statement by the branch secretary, Mujtaba Adamu Ameen, urged members to preserve the noble profession in high esteem and be fair to the society. The statement said: “We advise members to be responsible enough to do the best for the country Nigeria, families, clients and the system as a whole.
“We should please endeavor to preserve the nobleness of our highly respected profession by being fair to the society and to our children yet unborn.”
At the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court in Kano, normal court activities took place, as lawyers were seen attending court sittings.A lawyer, who declined to mention his name, told The Guardian that he has the fundamental right to ignore the directive issued by NBA. He insisted the association’s decision was not genuinely determined.
He asked: “Where was the NBA when the CJN remorsefully confessed to having committed the wrong. Where was NBA when the president of the association denied his client the lawful right? Another lawyer, Maruf Yakasai, said the boycott was not compelling to everybody, because you just have to consider what is at stake.