FEDERAL HIGH COURT HQTRS SHUT OVER CJ’S MOTHER FUNERAL

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Almost all the cases pending at the headquarters of the Federal High Court, Abuja were adjourned yesterday as the judges had travelled for the burial of the mother of the chief judge, Ibrahim Auta.
Justice Auta’s mother, Ya Thlama Madaki Auta who died recently would be buried today in Marama, Hawul local government in Borno state. 
A poster on the wall at the 5th floor of the court house announced the demise and funeral programme of the late Ya Thlama.
All the parties whose cases were fixed for Thursday (yesterday) and today could not have their day in court as their cases were further given adjournment dates till October.
Apart from the judges, the principal officers of the Federal High Court including the Chief Registrar (CR) and the Deputy Chief Registrars (DCRs) are also away from their desk and are not likely to return until Monday.
Altogether, about to 100 cases suffered adjournment. Some of the celebrated cases that suffered adjournment include both criminal and civil cases.
One of the criminal cases was that of the Senate leader, Ali Ndume who has been facing prosecution for alleged Boko Haram links as well as the case of Chief Timipre Sylva, former governor of Bayelsa State who is also facing criminal trial.
When Daily Trust visited the headquarters of the court yesterday, only Court No. 2 sat, where Justice Abdul Kafarati entertained about 19 cases.
Justice E.S. Chukwu (Court No.8) could only entertain about five cases out of a total of about 37 cases that were listed before he went to join the other judges.
Some of the lawyers and litigants who spoke with our correspondent lamented that they had to waste their time to come to court since they were not given any prior notice that the courts would not sit.
Barrister Jeffery Ucheh said “we have a serious issue with communication between the court, litigants and counsel. Whenever the court is not sitting there is no communication whatsoever with parties or their councel. You simply come to court and find out that the court is not sitting and you will not be told why the court is not sitting.”
“Whereas the courts have the contact information of all lawyers to litigants because you give them your GSM and email but they cannot just send a text sms. It occasion a lot of hardship on both the counsel and litigants.
“Some of the counsel come from Lagos, Port Harcourt or flew in from outside the country only to be told that court is not sitting,” he said.
Daily Trust gathered that a lady who is based in London had flown in on four different occasions from London and on each occasion the court did not sit. But the lady broke down and wept in court on the last occasion when she learnt that the court was not going to sit.
Another lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the matter was an issue to be addressed by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) because mutual respect must exist between the court which is the temple of justice and the lawyers who are the ministers in the temple of justice.
-Daily Trust

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