From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
As the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Kebbi State boycott of courts entered second day, litigants were frustrated as judges did not sit in various courts, yesterday.
Daily Sun visited the Upper Sharia Court 1, Birnin Kebbi, Upper Sharia Court 3,Birnin Kebbi and Area Sharia Court Birnin Kebbi, and observed that judges did not attend to litigants who were waiting at the court rooms.
Also, at the Chief Magistrate Court 1 and Sharia Court of Appeal, litigants were stranded at the courts, waiting endless for judges to attend to their cases. The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Kebbi State chapter had ordered the boycott of courts on February 3, 2021 over alleged threat to lives of judges, lawyers and litigants by vigilance group in Zuru Emirate.
The NBA, in a communique co -signed by its state chairman, Kabiru Aliyu and secretary, Aminu Hassan, which was made available to newsmen after their congress in Birnin Kebbi accused the ‘Yan Sakai’, an armed ethnic militia in Zuru Emirate of extra judicial killings in the areas. According to the statement,” The ‘Yan Sakai’ is an armed ethnic militia in Zuru Emirate established as a vigilante group with the sole objective of curtailing the activities of bandits, abductors and cattle rustlers in the emirate.
“However, the group has no regulations to guide and control its activities, as it metamorphosed into something else thereby usurping the powers of constituted authorities by arresting, investigation, adjudicating and extra judicial executions. The group sits on appeal to cases already adjudicated upon by the High Court and Court of Appeal.
“Sequel to incessant complaints against activities of the group, the ‘Yan Sakai’
communicated through Zuru Emirate Council that they would abstain from interfering with administration of justice but have reneged the undertaking.”
The communique lamented that the group prevented litigants from attending courts and obeying court orders, adding that it abducted and killed witnesses all aimed at aiding land grab.
“Now, courts’ judgments, summons, warrants, and orders are no longer respected, obeyed and cannot be executed for fear of intimidation by the group.
“Based on the foregoing, the association concluded that the lives of its members, judges, judicial staff and litigants are in grave dangers as a result of the activity of ‘Yan Sakai’.
“Lawyers throughout the state will from the February 3, 2021 to February 24, 2021 boycott all courts in the state for three weeks to show our dismay on the lingering issues.
“For safety reasons and in solidarity with our members in the emirate, we call on the heads of courts to shut down all courts in the state indefinitely until safety of judges, magistrates, lawyers, litigants and court staff can be guaranteed,” it said.
They called on the Federal, the state governments and Zuru emirate council to address the impasse forthwith.