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Civil rights group flays Enugu market demolition

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  • traders up in arms against demolition

By Millicent Onaga, Enugu 

The president of the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), Barrister Olu Omotayo has faulted the plan to demolish the New Artisan Market following a court judgement.

Omotayo described the execution of the court judgement, which led to breakdown of law and order last Thursday, as a brazen attack on the administration of justice in Enugu and Nigeria.

In a petition to the chief judge of Enugu state, Omotayo said that, due to the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union, all courts had been locked down for the past three weeks.

He, therefore, wondered about what court officials that went for the execution of the judgement and who authorised them.

“We write to your Lordship in respect of the above-mentioned matter which lead to a breakdown of law and order at the Goat market and its’ environs on Wednesday the 22nd April 2021.

“We are aware that due to of the ongoing strike by Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), all courts in Nigeria have been locked down for the past three weeks; The question is: which court officials went for the execution and who authorised it?

“The cumulative effect of Sections 8, 10, and 11, of the Sheriffs and civil Process Act, clearly states that the Sheriff (which means the Chief Registrar of Enugu State High Court) or Deputy Sheriff shall carry out execution of all court processes including Writ of execution.

“Section 15, of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act, states that it is the Duty of Police to assist an execution by the Sheriff but not for the police or any authority to carry out an execution.
He claimed that it is not  the duty of the executive or any government official or
even a successful plaintiff to carry out execution of court processes.

“In view of the current strike action by JUSUN which led to closed down of all courts in Nigeria it will be legally impossible for the Chief Registrar of Enugu State High Court and the Deputy Sheriffs and other officials working under them to carry out any execution whatsoever in any part of the state.” He stated.

He urged the chief judge to do a thorough investigation to know those he called “impostors” who, he alleged, illegally took over the duty of the chief registrar and went on the execution. He described the execution of the judgement at this moment as “a brazen attack on the administration of justice in the state and Nigeria as a whole.”

Omotayo added that the only way to guarantee the independence of the judiciary was for
the judiciary to be alert and guard its powers jealously.

Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, tension was still high in the market and its environs as some traders were seen with cutlasses patrolling the market.

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