An Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia has restrained security agencies from barricading access roads to the court.
The presiding judge, Justice Banson C. Anya, gave the order in the fundamental human rights enforcement case HIN/FR/14/2021 between, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and the Federal Government along with seven others.
The judge also restrained security agencies from effecting arrests on the court premises, unless so ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
According to the order given during the court’s sitting on Friday, November 19, 2021, whenever the case came up for hearing, the legal practitioners, litigants and members of the public must be allowed free access to the court without hindrance.
The court noted that in the administration of justice, only the prison officials and policemen posted on official duty are allowed within the court of law and it is so ordered.
The judge said it was unlawful to restrict citizens and members of the public access to the courtroom and court premises during the working hours of the court.
Justice Anya declared: “The act of barricading the court, blocking the roads leading to the court and impeding access to the court premises and courtrooms in a democratic society by any person under any guise is unconstitutional, illegal and an abuse of the integrity and sanctity of the court of law.”
He maintained that “the judiciary is a democratic institution with a mandate to protect the rights of any person or persons who approach the court to ventilate their grievances.”
Justice Anya stressed that it is unlawful to militarise the court or cause it to perform its function under the force of arms.
He further ordered that the Federal Government and all parties concerned must protect the sanctity of the judiciary, the freedom and constitutional rights of the people.
The case was, however, adjourned to December 10, 2021.
Other respondents in the case included the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief of Army Staff, Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ohafia, Abia State; Inspector General of Police. Commissioner of Police, Abia State; Director-General, State Security Services and Abia State Director, State Security Services.