The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad has directed the suspension of judicial activities in courts nationwide from Tuesday.

Justice Muhammad, in a directive on Monday in his capacity as the CJN and Chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC), said the need to urgently halt court sittings throughout the country was informed by the glaring threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the reality of the COVID-19 was already being felt in the country and there was an urgent need to take further preventive steps.

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In a statement by spokesman of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, the CJN directed all courts’ heads to give effect to his directive by March 24, 2020.

Justice Muhammad had in an earlier circular, issued on March 20, directed all courts’ heads to ensure compliance with the various preventive measures stipulated by the relevant health agencies.

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But in another circular issued on Monday, the CJN directed an immediate suspension of court sittings.

Part of the statement reads: “Re-Preventive measures on the spread of coronavirus. (COVID-19) and the protection of Justices, judges and staff of courts.

“Further to my earlier circular Ref. No. NJC/CIR/HOC/II/629 dated 20th March, 2020, on the above subject matter.

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“In view of the reality of the COVID-19 in the country and in order to take further preventive steps, all heads of courts are, from tomorrow, the 24th day of March, 2020, directed to suspend 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 our extant laws.

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“Your Lordships are hereby directed to bring the content of this Circular to the notice of all Stakeholders in justice administration, please.”


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