The Acting President of the Court of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensem, has ordered the suspension of all cases before its Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states divisions.
In a statement she personally signed and made available to journalists on Tuesday, she said the order is in compliance with the lockdown directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari had in his first address to Nigerians on the coronavirus crisis, on Sunday, ordered residents in the three locations to stay at home for 14 days from Monday.
Justice Dongban-Mensem said, “Following the 14 day lockdown directive of His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, with effect from 11:00Pm 30/03/2020, I hereby issue an interim practice directive that all matters pending before the Court sitting in the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun State shall cease in compliance thereof.”
The official said court proceedings in states not mentioned in Mr Buhari’s lockdown directive shall continue with the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Mohammed’s order suspending all court sittings except in matters that are urgent.
“Meanwhile, all Court proceedings for States not mentioned in the Presidential lockdown Directive of 30/03/2020 shall continue in line with the Directives issued by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Dr. Tanko Muhammad CFR on 23/03/2020.
“The Bench and the Bar are enjoined to strictly observe the guidelines on Social Distancing as directed by the National Centre for Disease Control.
“Counsel and Litigants present in court should be limited to 20 Persons maximum at all times.
She urged lawyers and litigants to make use of online communication.
“The use of ICT via online communication is hereby encouraged as much as practicable to ameliorate the effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“All Hon. Justices and Staff members of the Court are enjoined to support the efforts of the Federal Government by observing all guidelines.”