Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has urged Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Ibrahim Muhammad Tanko to designate Judges to hear urgent cases via Skype and Zoom social applications amid the lockdown.
Falana’s advice is coming after the CJN suspended the hearing of all court cases as a pre-emptive measure in containing and curbing the widespread of COVID-19.
However, the human rights lawyer has written a letter to CJN, highlighting the importance of hearing urgent cases to ensure citizens awaiting trial do not suffer unlawful detention during this period.
Stating that the federal government has relaxed the lockdown exempting markets and shops to sell ‘essential products and services’ to citizens, in the same vein, Falana urged CJN to hear urgent cases via Skype and Zoom.
“Since the federal government has relaxed the lockdown by allowing markets, shops and stalls selling food and groceries to open to customers between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily, the National Judicial Council (NJC) ought to review the suspension of court sittings to enable them to attend to urgent matters.”
“The review has become necessary in view of the fact that motions for the bail of many criminal suspects and applications to secure the enforcement of the fundamental right to personal liberty of other detainees are pending in several courts in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory,” he said.
“In addition, the return dates in respect of several ex parte orders made by magistrates for the remand of a number of criminal suspects which have since expired are due to be quashed or renewed to extend time for further investigation.
“More so that the heads of the various courts are vested with the power to designate judges and magistrates to attend to urgent matters in accordance with the laws establishing such courts. However, in order to observe the social distancing directive we suggest that arrangements be made for Judges to hear urgent applications via Skype or Zoom,”