Drama as magistrate scampers out of court beholding lawyer appear in pastor’s regalia…Brings proceedings to abrupt end



A mild drama ensued at the weekend at a magistrates’ court in Ogbaru Local Government Area, near Onitsha, Anambra State, when a jolted presiding magistrate suddenly suspended proceedings as a lawyer appeared before her dressed in pastor’s regalia instead of the usual lawyer’s outfit.


It happened that when a case was called for hearing, the lawyer, Ogbachalu Goshen, stepped out and announced his appearance for defence in a matter, thus jolting the presiding magistrate, Her Worship, CB Mbaegbu, who wondered at that manner of dressing in a court of competent jurisdiction.

When the magistrate told him he cannot appear and address the court in that regalia, he objected, citing the recent Supreme Court judgement that gave female students the backing to wear hijab in public schools as a precedent.

As the Magistrate stood her ground that he cannot appear in her court in that mode of dressing, Goshen also insisted that it was his right and that the objection by the magistrate was an infringement on his fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As the argument continued with both the magistrate and lawyer refusing to shift ground, the magistrate simply shouted ‘I’ll rise’, thereby bringing proceedings to an abrupt end.

The magistrate quickly stepped outside and entered her car and drove off, with several counsels and litigants filing out one by one in confusion.

Justifying his action thereafter in an interview, Goshen said the matter had already become a constitutional issue since the Supreme Court had made a ruling on it, saying the court (Her Worship) should also answer what happens when a female Muslim lawyer enters the court in her hijab.

He said he is an ordained pastor and should also be allowed to appear that way in court since the Supreme Court has decided.

Asked whether the ruling is in the best interest of the judiciary, he said that, for now, it remains a precedent that must be obeyed, unless there is a judicial review.

Recall that a similar incident played out days ago in Lagos when Justice Tijani Ringim of a Federal High Court , refused to hear the cases filed by Malcolm Omirhobo for appearing  before the court dressed as a ‘juju priest.’

Omirhobo also attributed his decision, which he said is his fundamental right, to the apex court’s ruling affirming the wearing of hijab in schools./ Additional report from The Punch/SHARE THIS     


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