Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says courts are expected to conduct proceedings despite the lockdown order issued by the president. Malami in a statement issued by Umar Gwandu, his special assistant on media, said only matters which are “urgent, essential or time-bound” should be attended to.
The AGF said the “speedy dispensation of justice is a cardinal principle of justice sector reform of the present administration, hence, time-bound cases are treated with dispatch and accorded the required attention”. According to the statement, the directive was communicated in a letter addressed to all heads of courts dated April 1 conveying the COVID-19 regulation 2020.
The letter reads in part: “Further to the letter Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/11/631 dated 23rd March 2020 by the chief justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice I. T. Mohammad, CFR directing suspension of court sittings for an initial period of two weeks at the first instance, except in matters that are urgent, essential or time-bound according to extant laws.”
Malami added that the directive issued by the CJN is “in tandem with the COVID-19 regulations 2020 made pursuant to Quarantine Act 2004 by the president of the federal republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari GCFR”.