JUSUN Strike: Ex-NBA VP, Akariwe calls for suspension of Annual Vacation for High Court Judges

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A former Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr Ikeazor Akariwe has called for suspension of the Annual Vacation of Judges of the High Courts.

 

Akariwe made this suggestion on Monday in a press statement made available to BarristerNG.

He noted that with the time wasted during the Judiciary staff Union strike, it is only  reasonable to adjust.

Part of the statement reads “It is my respectful view that the yearly vacation of superior courts of record should be somewhat amended this year in the light of the effect of the 10 week long JUSUN industrial action on justice delivery in Nigeria.

“It will be recalled that the justice delivery system lay comatose for several months last year due to the Covid – 19 outbreak.

“And hardly had the courts resumed under strict Covid-19 protocols last year than it was time for the annual vacation, which the superior courts of record went ahead to observe from mid/late July to mid/early September.

“It seems to me that the effect on justice delivery last year and this year of several months of shutdown of the courts has been catastrophic. Litigants have had their quest for justice bogged down by shutdowns in an already very slow system of justice delivery.


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“The serial shutdown of courts with added vacations two years in a row, will certainly have the effect of rendering the justice delivery sector irrelevant as litigants will increasingly take the law into their hands or look for alternative sources of justice delivery, some of which are not necessarily dependable.

“I therefore suggest that the superior courts of record postpone their vacations to the end of August to enable them sit from now till the end of August, a period of about ten weeks. This amounts to adding only four weeks to their calendar, and does not really compensate for ten weeks of lost time. But it is better than nothing.

“Thereafter, they may proceed on vacation for two weeks only until the middle of September. The proposal takes into consideration the fact that the courts were on ‘vacation’ for the ten weeks of the strike action with the partial exception of those courts which had no hearings but delivered judgments weekly during the said industrial action.

“This suggestion will of course not affect those states like Ebonyi amd Edo whose high courts sat throughout the industrial action.

“Similarly, the same consideration in mind, I respectfully advocate for the yearly leave of learned magistrates to be cancelled this year and sceptics for those magistrates who had to sit at police stations during the strike action to ensure that arrested persons were not detained longer than necessary or whose states were not part of the strike action.

“This suggestion however is for High Courts and not Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

“May it please the courts,” he stated.

 


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