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Incessant attacks: Imo judges worry over safety

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By Chuks Uzochukwu, Owerri 

Two high court judges in Imo state, Justice Victoria Isiguzo and Justice Mike Nwagboso, have called on the Imo state government to beef up security at court premises for the safety of judges and lawyers.

They made the call at the weekend after swearing in the new Mbano and Etiti branch executive members of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, led by Sir Richard Anyanwu. 

They also decried the deplorable condition of court halls in the division, describing them as “about the worst in the state.”

Nwagboso said: “I was working here before unknown gunmen attacked the place and I had to relocate to Owerri, where I now sit.

“The issue of security is very important to judges, lawyers and litigants. What touches one of us, touches all of us. I urge the new executive to work together, to realise the collective dream of the team.”

“What is more, the Mbano court hall is dilapidated. It leaks badly, each time it rains. It is about the worst court hall in the state. How do you send somebody there and expect him work optimally?

“This new executive has a lot of responsibilities facing it. Mbano needs its own High Court Judge. There are over 400 undecided cases in Mbano, while Etiti equally has over 600 outstanding cases.” Isiguzo added. 

In his post-inauguration address, Anyanwu said: “the sordid situation of our courts, shall be looked into. Security for the Bench in our jurisdiction, shall be a priority, to reduce the suffering of the staff and litigants, in going outside Mbano/Etiti, in search of justice. We shall engage appropriate authorities on these.

“We call on the government to declare a state of emergency on security, in our judicial division in particular, and Imo state in general.

“We have so many cases in Mbano/Etiti Judicial Division and the cost of prosecuting them in Owerri, is disabling to many litigants.”

It could be recalled that Mbano and Etiti Division was among the courts that came under attack during the recent security crisis in the state. 

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