TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Lawyers shut down court proceedings in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as they staged a peaceful protest in condemnation of the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The lawyers, who gathered at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) House, Port Harcourt, marched to the Magistrate Court, State High Court, Federal High Court, National Industrial Court and Court of Appeal, and stopped proceedings.
Addressing journalists during the demonstration, Chairman of NBA, Port Harcourt branch, Mr. Sylvester Adaka, said that the association does not support corruption, but, the executive should follow due process in dealing with the judiciary.
He said: “We are saying that due process must be followed; people should not be confused about what we are doing. Our protest today does not mean that the NBA is encouraging corruption in any way. But, what we are saying is that there is a process which must be followed.
“I appeal to all those, who are affected by today’s shutdown of the courts, please understand that we all have to give some form of sacrifice for the survival of our democracy.
“If we do not do things like this, one day, we will face the kind of courts shutdown that we faced in 2014. It means that one day, one man can wake up, drive an armoured tank and block the courts and say no more court here. So, if we have to sacrifice one or two days to avoid that, I think such a sacrifice is necessary,” he stated.
Also speaking, Mr. Faye Dikio, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), condemned the suspension of Justice Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari, describing his action as illegal and should be reversed.
He, however, called on the National Assembly to rise up and reverse the decision of the president.
“There is confusion following the suspension of the CJN because the constitution was not adhered to. What the president of Nigeria is doing is unconstitutional. We pray to God that this issue is corrected because President Mohammadu Buhari is not capable of correcting it. The National Assembly, therefore, should rise up and correct it”, Dikio emphasised.