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3 high courts bombed in Rivers

Published by Tribune on Tue, 03 Feb 2015

SOME 48 hours after judiciary workers in Rivers State called off their eight-month-old strike, three High Court premises in the state went up in flames in the early hours of Monday, as they were bombed by yet-to-be-identified persons.The action of the suspected arsonists had effectively dashed the hope of many people who had expected the reopening of the various courts across the state, which had been under lock and key since July, 2014.The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), through its national publicity secretary, Kayode Igbarago, had, on Saturday, in Port Harcourt, announced the suspension of the industrial action and directed its members to resume work on Monday.The bombed courts were in Degema, Isiokpo and Port Harcourt, even as it was learnt that the incident at Degema occurred at about 4.30 a.m, with the court building razed and documents therein burnt to ashes.In what may be seen as a coordinated action, the bombing of the Port Harcourt and Isiokpo High Courts, though with less destruction, occurred between 4.00 a.m. and 5.00 a.m, respectively, with no casualty recorded in the three incidents.In the same vein, some other unknown persons were said to have attacked another High Court in Omoku, burning some vital documents in the process.Confirming the three bombing incidents, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Ahmad Mohammad, described the operations as 'coordinated attacks.'He said this in a statement issued in Port Harcourt after the attacks, adding that the acts were perpetrated by unidentified assailants.'The Rivers State police command wishes to confirm that in the early hours of Monday, February 2, coordinated attacks were launched on judiciary court premises at Degema, Isiokpo and Port Harcourt, with explosive devices suspected to be dynamite by unidentified and unpatriotic assailants.'Minimal damages were recorded in the Port Harcourt and Isiokpo scenes without affecting the court building and documents, while at Degema, the court building was razed and documents burnt. No life was lost,' he said.The Rivers police image maker said the affected areas were under the control of the police, while the Police Bomb Disposal Unit had commenced discreet investigation in earnest.'It took the instant efforts of policemen, particularly in Isiokpo and Port Harcourt to extinguish the fire resulting from the explosions and stop it from spreading beyond the point of impact.'The Commissioner of Police is deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless attacks on the temples of justice. We must realise that violence is never and will never be a solution to problem(s).'The command has already put in place efforts that will lead to the arrest of the actors and sponsors of the attacks, while soliciting for the usual cooperation from members of the public to assist the police in this regard.'The command further reiterates its determination to provide adequate security to judicial workers and all courts in the state,' Muhammad said in the statement.Expectedly, the directive that all courts should be reopened notwithstanding, the headquarters of the Rivers State Judiciary in Port Harcourt, remained under lock and key.Chairman of the Port Harcourt branch of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Mr Danis Okwamkpam, told newsmen that there was no indication that the courts would reopen for work, given the situation at hand.While condemning the attacks on the court buildings in Port Harcourt, Isiokpo and Degema, he called for a joint meeting of security agents, leadership of JUSUN and other stakeholders to find ways to ensure the courts become functional again without fear of attacks.Some of the judiciary workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, however, blamed the national leadership of JUSUN for not putting security measures in place before suspending the strike.
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