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Mpmania Mix 39

Mpmania Mix 39

Ondo Protesting Lawyers Locked Up, On The Orders Of The Chief Judge

The Protesting Laywers at the Olukayode Building today
There seems to be no end to the dispute between members of the Nigeria Bar Association in Akure, the Ondo State capital, and the Chief Judge of the State High Court, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi.

Reasons is not far fetched, as ten of the protesting lawyers were on Wednesday locked up with the premise of the court on the order of the embattled Chief judge.

Lawyers in the state, under the auspicious of the Nigeria Bar Association had been on strike for the past week. It is over a circular letter signed by the Chief Registrar of the Court directing that those standing sureties for accused persons, must produce three years tax clearance before their bail application could be granted.

Members of the bar at a protest last week had resolved to embark on an indefinite strike since the three days ultimatum given to the Chief judge to withdraw the circular letter expired.

Many of the protesting lawyers are calling for the immediate removal, and sacking of the State Chief Judge, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi. They accused him of “conniving with the state governor,” and wanting to turn the state into a ‘police state’.

Today, in what looks like a dramatic twist to the event, ten members of the Association which includes; Olawale Dan, Bankole Alabi, Oju Kekemeke, Kayode Adewusi, Soji Adedeko, Israel Aluko, Muyiwa Familusi, among others, were locked up in the court, while the key was taken away by a judiciary staff member on the orders of the Chief Judge.

The lawyers, led by the Akure branch Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Prince Lawrence Kayode Dare, prevented all the courtrooms from attending to litigants. The Secretary, Mr Kayode Olorunfemi, Mr Wale Omotoso, Tunde Olofinsawo, Adedefe Oni, Chief Dapo Agbede and other senior members of the association, joined Kayode Dare.

The Lawyers were locked up after they had mobilized to chase away staff members and judiciary workers at a small rented apartment, known as the ‘Olukayode building.’ It is located a short distance away, along Oluwatuyi road, in Akure, used by the government as a court.

The judiciary staff had resumed their work for court sittings, but was chased out by the aggrieved lawyers.

Soji Adedeko, who was among those locked up, said they were in the court premises to tell their colleagues about the Association decision, but discovered that a judiciary staff member had padlock the gate to the entrance of the court. In doing so, thereby, locking them inside, and the staff member had taken away the key away for hours.

Adedeko added that, a vehicle they took to the premises was already marked as an exhibit by the judiciary staff. It was being removed, but it took the combined efforts of the other lawyers, who had mobilized in front of the, court to forcibly collect the vehicle.

SaharaReporters learned that one of the officials of the court, who had wanted to leave the premises, opened the gate, and the lawyers had their chance to escape from custody.

Meanwhile, members of the Association in the state had set-up a task force committee to enforce the boycott of Court proceedings, a move that will remain in place until the Chief Judge rescinds his decision of the controversial bail conditions.

Consisting of Five members each, the Committee is set to move around all courts in the state to ensure total compliance with their boycott.

Also, the lawyers has vowed to continue grounding all court activities in the state, just has they booed the State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, of keeping silent over the matter.

All state owned media stations in the state have also been warned of covering the protests, nor to give it any press coverage. An official in the state ministry of information revealed this to a SaharaReporters correspondent on the condition of anonymity, in a telephone chat.

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