JUDGES AND LAWYERS ATTENDING TO URGENT AND CONSTITUTIONALLY TIME BOUND MATTERS ARE EXEMPTED FROM THE LOCKDOWN WITHIN PORT HARCOURT AND OBIO/AKPOR L.G.A OF RIVERS STATE




The Governor of Rivers State days before had announced the total lockdown of Port harcourt and Obio/Akpor L.G.A Of the state, unfortunately the administrative headquarters of courts in the state are situated within these two L.G.A's  
According to Clifford Nnanta, Lawyers who are to appear before justices are allowed to visit the court.

 
“Yesterday(06/05/2020), I received a hearing notice from the Court of Appeal, Port harcourt, Judicial Division to appear before the court on 07/05/2020 for an appeal in which I am Appellant's counsel.”

“I went to the Court of Appeal to inquire how one was going to appear before the court when there was a lockdown which is to commence the next day, I was reliably informed that the Rivers State Government has issued special pass to the Justices of the Court of Appeal and their staff to enable them attend to urgent and constitutional time bound matters.”

“Having heard the above, it implies that lawyers who are to appear before the Justices were equally allowed to come to court.”

“Torn between obeying the hearing notice to appear before the Court of Appeal and obeying the lockdown which is to commence the next day, as a law abiding citizen, I wrote a letter directly to Gov. Nyesom Wike applying for issuance of  a pass or waiver to enable me appear before the Court of Appeal, the said letter was hand delivered by me to a certain Mr. Peter Agama at the government house gate, Port harcourt.”

“I set out today (07/05/2020) uncertain as to what awaits me on my way from my residence to the Court of Appeal, I met a lot of road blocks manned by security operatives and once I identified myself and showed proof that I had a case to attend to at the Court of Appeal, I was courteously allowed to continue my journey.”

“On reaching the Court of Appeal, I was the only lawyer in panel 1 court room but the court staff were already seated and the court set for the business of the day, I penned down my name on the cause list, took my seat waiting for your Lordship to file in to commence proceedings for the day.”

“At about 10am, I and another senior colleague who was seated in panel 2 were told that  their Lordships wanted to see us, we approached the presiding justice's  conference room and therein we met 6 justices of the Court of Appeal seated( which was a complete to number of justices to mann the 2 panels in the judicial division)”

“Their Lordships informed us that the proceedings for the day would not go on because there were not enough lawyers in the court to attend to the matters in the cause list and asked that the matters be adjourned to a further date, while beckoning on us to appear before them when next they ask us to come.”

“I left the premises of the Court of Appeal, on getting to LNG round about from the marine base axis of Port harcourt , I saw a long convoy of cars hitting the same round about from the Amadi flat axis of Port Harcourt, the convoy immediately stopped and security operatives ran around a black BMW SUV, the BMW back doors opened and who did I see coming out, your guess is as good as mine, Gov. Nyesom Wike!”

“I said to myself, this can't be happening, how possible was it that I was going to meet the Governor on the same date the lockdown commenced.”

“Gov. Wike approached me and wanted to know where I was coming from, I told him I was coming from the Court of Appeal, I handed the hearing notice from the Court of Appeal to him, he took a look at it and asked what date, when he saw it was for today(07/05/2020), I also reminded him of the letter which I had dropped of at the government house gate, after going through the hearing notice, he(Governor) said "let him go"
“Before I drove off, the passengers of the car behind me were not so lucky as they were unable to identify themselves nor  give any cogent reason why they were on the road, the Governor immediately ordered that they all be arrested”

“The Governor's body language after reading the hearing notice, confirmed that Judges and Lawyers were  exempted from the lockdown as essential workers and this fact the government of Rivers State have acknowledged.”



Credit: 
Clifford Nnanta Chuku Snr

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