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Coronavirus: Activities paralysed in Lagos courts as clerks stay at home

Activities were on Monday paralysed in courts in Lagos State as clerks and other support staff were absent following a directive by the state Gov. Babajide sanwo-Olu that workers on Grade Levels 01 to 12 should work from home as a strategy to check Coronavirus spread.

A check by the News Agency of Nigeria shows that although, litigants, prosecutors, legal counsel, magistrates and judges were on ground, clerks were not available to handle files.

At the Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court complex, overnight cases had to be taken back to police stations on the instruction of the chief magistrate, who said that investigating police officers should return on Tuesday to enable the court to find a way to handle criminal cases.

At the Ikeja Magistrates’ Court (Samuel Ilori Court House, Ogba), the situation was the same as most court clerks fall in the category of workers allowed by the governor to stay back at home.

Some magistrates were seen leaving offices since they could not handle cases without the support staff.

Few workers – who are above Grade Level 12 and above – were on ground but could not handle clerks’ duties.

Some prosecutors and legal counsel were seen in the court complex.

Litigants, whose cases were scheduled for hearing on Monday, left without getting new dates for hearing of the cases because of non-availability of court clerks.

Security guards were checking people’s temperature before allowing them into the premises.

At the Ikeja High Court Complex, members of the public were barred from courtrooms as directed by the Lagos State Government to curb further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only lawyers were allowed into courtrooms in consonance with the state government’s distancing rules.

Many judges were unable to sit as court clerks and other support staff on Grade Level 01 to 12 did not come to work.

At the Federal High Court Complex, Ikoyi, Lagos State, all entrants to the premises were screened on Monday as part of efforts to maintain safety following the spread of Coronavirus.

Those screened include court officials, lawyers, litigants and visitors.

They queued outside the court, while security guards manning the gate used an infrared forehead thermometre to scan through check their temperature.

Hand sanitisers were made available to all of them.

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