The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has ordered all courts in the country to shut down from Tuesday.
The CJN, in a statement he issued on the official website of the National Judicial Council, NJC, said the measure became necessary, in view of the reality of the COVID-19 in the country.
The statement read thus:-
PREVENTIVE MEASURES ON THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS (COVID – 19) AND THE PROTECTION OF JUSTICES, JUDGES AND STAFF OF COURTS
As Your Lordships are aware, the COVID-19 Virus and its spread in Nigeria has become a source of concern to all. Consequently, both the Federal and State Health Authorities have taken steps to mitigate the spread in the Country. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) had continued to issue advisories to stem the spread of the disease which has no known cure.
This is a matter of grave concern to the entire Nigeria Judiciary. Courts are expected to sit in Public which becomes a veritable source for large gathering by those who come to Court while carrying out its constitutional duties. The NCDC had recommended the cessation of all gathering in excess of 50 people because of the risks it poses.
Consequently, Your Lordships are expected to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of Justices, Judges and all Staff within your jurisdiction in view of the risk such large gatherings may pose.
As you all know, the Courts are expected to continue sitting, however, as much as possible, efforts must be made to ensure that crowd attending such sittings do not exceed the recommended number.
For those States where the State Governments have issued further guidelines, such guidelines must be addressed to ensure concerted and coordinated efforts in the prevention of the spread of this disease.
Your Lordships are hereby directed to bring the content of this Circular to the notice of all the Judges in your jurisdiction, please.
Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR
Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman,
National Judicial Council.
Posted on: Mon, 23rd Mar, 2020