Bayelsa Govt, NBA call for urgent reopening of Fed High, Industrial courts, Yenagoa ...says their continued closure is affecting administration of justice

Create: 03/24/2017 - 17:16
The Bayelsa State Government has called on the Chief Justice of Nigeria and other relevant authorities to urgently resolve the issues responsible for the non-sitting of the Federal High Court and National Industrial Court in Yenagoa.
The state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Kemasuode Wodu and his information counterpart, Hon Jonathan Obuebite made the call on the heels of a press briefing on the development by the leadership of the Yenagoa and Sagbama branches of the Nigerian Bar Association in the Bayelsa State capital.
 
It would be recalled that the Yenagoa Federal High Court and National Industrial Court have not been sitting for months following the indictment of Justice Terseer Agbadu-Fishim and Justice Ngan Jiwa, the Judges presiding over the two courts, over graft-related allegations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In an interview, Mr Wodu noted that, the issue was of grave concern to the state government, as inactivity of the two courts have not only affected the administration of justice in the state, but also caused incalculable loss to legal practitioners, litigants and even the government.
 
According to the Attorney General, the State Government has expressed its concern earlier by sending a delegation led by himself to the then Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and wondered why no appreciable action has been taken to address the issue with a view to making the affected courts resume operations.
 
While calling for caution, Mr Wodu who described the Yenagoa Federal High Court as one of the busiest in the country, however, assured that, the government would do everything within its reach to ensure that the courts start sitting soon.
 
On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite called on the Federal Government to pay the desired attention to the issue to avoid a crisis situation, as so many people, especially those awaiting trial in various detention facilities are being denied their fundamental human right to fair hearing.
 
He also urged relevant authorities to expedite the completion of the ongoing federal high court complex project in the state, and advised Bayelsans and all those affected by the development to remain calm, as appropriate measures are being taken to resolve the matter.
 
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Yenagoa Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barr. Eric Derie and his Sagbama counterpart, Barr. Kelvin Ezelonu have called on all people of goodwill from within and outside the country, to prevail on the Federal Government to ensure the smooth administration of justice in the Yenagoa Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court.
 
This, according to them, can be achieved by either appointing interim judicial officers to preside over the affairs of the two courts, pending the determination of the allegations levelled against Justices Agbadu-Fishim and Ngan Jiwa or outright appointment of substantive judges to replace them.
 
The NBA leaders said the call for help has become imperative as all efforts made on their part to ensure commencement of sitting in the courts, which hear not less than 20 cases a day, have proved abortive, thereby causing untold hardship to both legal practioners and the entire citizenry.