Army orders lawyers to robe during court martial

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NIGERIAN army has ordered all civilian lawyers appearing before its Special Court Martial, SCM to be fully dressed as barrister during the event. In a convening order for the SCM sent by chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai all civilian lawyers are expected to appear before the court robed. Reports by Naij.com stated that Buratai citing Section 131 (2)(d) of the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 laws of the federation of Nigeria said the SCM will assemble at the Army Headquarters Garrison Conference Hall at Mogadishu Cantonment in Abuja. Aside the civilian lawyers, the order stated that: “All officers are to wear No. 4 dress while soldiers are to wear No. 5 dress throughout the duration of the court.” “All lawyers are to be robed. However, serving officers and soldiers who are lawyers have the option of wearing either No. 4 and 5 dress respectively,”
Buratai said. While the chief of army staff did not give reasons for the order the army spokesperson, Sani Usman could not be reached for comments on the said directive. It has been a Norn that Nigerian lawyers are fully dressed only when appearing before a Federal High Court or state High Courts. It was also observed that lawyers who appear before the some courts like the magistrate courts, election tribunals and the Code of Conduct Tribunal do not wear their robes and wigs but are rather seen on dark coloured suit. A senior lawyer who spoke to NAIJ.com said the chief of army staff’s order is a “very wrong” directive. The lawyer said: “That directive is an attempt to look down on the legal profession.” He added that the law forbids lawyers to appear in any court where the judge is not robed.
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Source:: Nigerian Pilot