There was a rowdy session at the Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt today as some party supporters attacked and beat up the Port Harcourt branch chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association.
Trouble started when some lawyers under the aegis of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) lead by its Port Harcourt branch chairman, Sylvester Adaka stormed the Court of Appeal to appeal to a sitting Judge to adjourn proceedings for the day in furtherance of NBA’s protest against the suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The presiding Judge, Justice A. A. Gumel condemned and cautioned the lawyers and their approach in the protest, accusing them of desecrating the temple of justice.
Speaking to them, Gumel said: “Lawyers who are ministers of the court which is the temple of justice should not desecrate it by turning the courts into a public square, where lawyers will carry placards to disrupt court proceedings.”
He said that he was in the court just to take records of processes but will hear motions at an adjourned date.
But when members of the NBA insisted the sitting be adjourned, some party supporters in court attacked the NBA chairman and other lawyers who were with him.
They beat them up, insisting the proceedings must continue.
The matters slated for the day were the controversial All Progressives Party appeals.
The Court later took record of five different appeals afterwards, all bothering on decision of Justice Omotosho of the federal high court in Port Harcourt to stay executive on the judgement.
Justice Gumel however adjourned all appeals till January 31, 2019 for hearing of motion on notice
The Rivers APC governorship candidate, Tonye Cole, who was in court condemned the episode describing it as unfortunate.
He said: “I think what happened in court today was unfortunate and I don’t think it speaks well of the NBA.”
Adaka said lawyers were in court to peacefully boycott proceedings of the court as directed by its national secretariat and national executive committee before he was attacked.
He said: “While we were in court of appeal, I peacefully addressed the justices of the court of appeal to rise in continuation of our peaceful boycott of courts and also appealed to lawyers to leave the court premises.
“But while we were in court, a couple of thugs in the court premises attacked the lawyers there, the thugs zeroed in on me and a couple of lawyers, if not for the intervention of my colleagues around, I don’t know what would have happened.“