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Nigeria suspends of all court sittings

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Tanko Mohammed has ordered the suspension of all court sittings except in matters that are urgent, for 14 days because of COVID-19.

This announcement was made in a communique issued by the CJN on Monday.

In an earlier directive last week, the CJN had ordered that anyone who refuses to undergo temperature screening at every court entrance should be asked to go back.

The notice, pasted at the court entrances, said all staff and court visitors (including lawyers, litigants, press, orderlies) were asked to comply with the directive.

“Anyone who refuses will be sent back. Prevention is better than cure,” the circular, seen by newsmen, who was also screened before entry, stated.

A doctor from the medical team in charge of the screening said anyone whose body temperature exceeds normal ”would be moved aside and interrogated about his or her health and travel history”.

Sanitisers were also mounted in front of each courtroom.

Nigeria recorded its first death from the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak on Monday after the country confirmed five new cases.

Nigeria has a total of 36 confirmed cases including one death.

Read the full CJN statement below;

RE: PREVENTIVE MEASURES ON THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS (COVID – 19) AND THE PROTECTION OF JUSTICES, JUDGES AND STAFF OF COURTS

Further to my earlier Circular Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/629dated 20th March, 2020, on the above subject matter. In view of the reality of the COVID-19 in the country and in order to take further preventive steps, all Heads of Courts are, from tomorrow, the 24th day of March, 2020, directed to suspend Court sittings for an initial period of two weeks at the first instance, except in matters that are urgent, essential or time-bound according to our extant laws.

Your Lordships are hereby directed to bring the content of this Circular to the notice of all Stakeholders in justice administration, please.

Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR
Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman,
National Judicial Council.

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