The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has clarified that Courts are expected to attend to the matters that are urgent, essential or time bound even during the lockdown.
Malami said speedy dispensation of justice is a cardinal principle of Justice Sector Reform of the present administration, hence urged that time-bound cases are treated with dispatch and accorded the required attention.
This is contained in a statement issued by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and made available to newsmen on Wednesday 1st April, 2020.
According to the statement the directive is communicated in a letter addressed to all heads of courts dated 1st April, 2020 conveying the COVID 19 Regulation 2020
The letter was titled “RE: PREVENTIVE MEASURES ON THE SPREAD OF CORONA VIRUS (COVID-19) AND THE PROTECTION OF JUSTICES, JUDGES AND STAFF OF COURTS”.
The letter stated that “further to the letter Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/11/631 dated 23rd March, 2020 by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice I. T. Mohammad, CFR directing suspension of 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 extant laws”.
Malami said the directive issued by the Chief of Justice of Nigeria is in tandem with the COVID-19 Regulations 2020 made pursuant to Quarantine Act 2004 by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.