May 30, 2018
We join other concerned Nigerians to condemn the recent unwarranted attack on a High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, by armed hoodlums. The attack which occurred on May 11 on the Port Harcourt High Court complex occurred as judges, magistrates, staff and lawyers were reporting for duty, is an affront on the judiciary.
While the attack was on, judicial and non-judicial workers were denied access to the complex as all gates were locked and surrounded by the hoodlums. The heavily armed thugs injured some judicial officers, other officials and destroyed some equipment. The invasion of the court has been condemned by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen who also called on Nigerians to condemn the act and preserve the judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man. The attack was equally condemned by the Rivers State House of Assembly which resolved to write to the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the Commonwealth of Nations on the development.
That the court was allegedly attacked over a political matter involving factions of a political party in the state is an attempt to undermine the institution of the judiciary.
It is, indeed, senseless to at- tack the court, the sacred temple of justice a few months be- fore the 2019 general elections. It is also a sign of what to expect during the elections, when there is need for peace to reign in the land. But, if there must be peace, there must also be justice. Our judicial officers must always uphold justice in carrying out their functions without minding whose ox is gored.
Because the judiciary is the only institution that dispenses justice, any attack on the judiciary is the highest form of rebellion. The police must make frenetic effort to fish out those behind the attack as well as their sponsors.
They should be prosecuted and severe punishment meted to those found guilty of the of- fence. There could never be any good reason for the attack.
The court was invaded over an impending political matter in the court and we advise judicial officers not to be partisan in the discharge of their duties. They must be above board and maintain a position of absolute political neutrality on any matter before them.