Courts across the country have been officially closed for over seven weeks due to the ongoing strike of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN. The workers shut down the courts since April 6 in agitation for financial independence of the judiciary.
However, in spite of the court closure, Premium Times, not TheNigeriaLawyer, reports that corrupt court officials in connivance with touts are illegally issuing affidavits at high fees.
Premium Times says on May 11 its reporter inserted himself in the curious scenes playing out around the High Court premises in Kubwa, a satellite town of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja
”You are welcome sir,” they chorused, as they swarmed towards our reporter. They asked if he needed an affidavit and he said yes.
He was then led by a man to a woman seated in a car parked beside a tree providing a shield for a group of people.
A fee of N1,000 was agreed with the woman. She asked if the Premium Times correspondent if he had obtained a police report, but did not wait for an answer before saying it was not necessary.
The man informed the reporter that he would have to backdate the Affidavit. Writing the true date on the affidavit would give the document away as having been “illegally” issued during the strike when court was officially closed, he explained
The reporter agreed. Even though the day was May 11, the affidavit was backdated to April 1. The fee of N1,000 was paid before the affidavit was handed over to the reporter.
Similar thing played out in the Sharia Court of Appeal, in the Bwari Area Council of the FCT, officials were seen issuing affidavits in the middle of the ongoing strike
When the findings was shared with him, Jimoh Musa, who is the National Treasurer of JUSUN and top official of the Nasarawa State High Court, said “Those court officials involved are mischievous and desperate. I have warned them against it because their jobs are at stake,”
He added that, “For an ordinary person to issue affidavits with the oath stamps, means there is a connivance with the officers in charge for oath.”
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