The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ikeja Branch has stated that a year after the #EndSARS protests, attorneys in Lagos are still dealing with the aftermath of the protests, particularly the issue of burned or lost case files.
The #EndSARS protests against the Nigerian Police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) were hijacked by hoodlums who unleashed mayhem across the country, resulting in the loss of lives and property.
Some hoodlums robbed and burned down the Igbosere High Court in Lagos Island on October 21, 2020.
The ancient structure was Nigeria’s oldest judicial building, and the court complex has yet to be rebuilt.
According to Mr Bartholomew Aguegbodo, NBA Ikeja Branch Chairman, lawyers who are the major stakeholders in the administration of justice, are still feeling the aftereffects of the #EndSARS protest.
“There are a lot of hiccups caused by the burning of the courthouse, case files and exhibits got burnt during the #EndSARS crisis and some of those case files are yet to be recovered.
“It was just less than two months ago that alternative solutions were put in place for new courthouses in Yaba and Ikoyi areas of Lagos.
“We are still battling to grasp with the weight of the #EndSARS crisis up till now,” he said.
Following the arson assault, the NBA chairman remarked that numerous deleted data could not be recovered because the judiciary’s online e-filing system had not yet taken off. But how come it has not taken off in this 21st century?
“We believe now that with the formal e-filing system working fully, if we are to have a repeat of the #EndSARS crisis, it will not generate cases of missing files any longer.
“Due to the arson attack, we had instances where both the claimants and the defendants had to bring out records from themselves to reconstruct case files.
“It created a very unhealthy task and up till today, there are a lot of case files that are yet to be reconstructed,” he said.