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NJC orders courts to respect anti-virus protocols

Updated May 09 2020 01:05 am

The National Judicial Council (NJC) has released guidelines for court sittings during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce spread.

The guidelines issued by the NJC Committee headed by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour are contained in statement issued by the NJC Director of information, Mr Soji Oye, on Thursday.

It is entitled: ‘The National Judicial Council Guidelines for Court Sittings and Related Matters in the COVID-19 period.”

Oye said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice I. T. Muhammad, in a corresponding circular with Reference Number NJC/CIR/HOC/II/660,urged all heads of  federal and state courts to abide by the guidelines in the formulation of their rules and directives.

“Heads of court shall have primary responsibility of ensuring compliance of judicial officers over whom they superintend with the provisions of this guideline.

“Heads of courts shall liaise with relevant security agencies to ensure that the entrances to court premises are well manned by security personnel and entry into the premises are regulated in a manner that guarantees and enforces the minimum two-meter (six feet) distance between persons as it relates to all entrants into the premises.

“The courts shall ensure that all security personnel who work in the court premises and in particular the security personnel who man the entrance(s) to the court premises are well informed on COVID-19 including in particular, the methods of its spread, its basic symptoms,  how to prevent its spread, etc,” it said.

It added that heads of courts should ensure that all security personnel including those attached to judicial officers and courtrooms would be well-kitted and supplied with disposable gloves, facemasks and hand sanitisers.

It also listed guidelines which should apply with regard to admission of persons into the court premises.

“Security personnel at the entrance of the court premises shall be equipped with temperature monitors for testing and determining the temperature of each visitor to the court premises.

” They should be trained in the use of the temperature monitors, and  visitors must be shown their temperature readings on the monitors before their admission into the court premises.

“Every person wishing to go into the court premises, without exception, shall be subjected to the temperature monitor reading for the determination of his or her body temperature,”  it said.

It added that anyone who would refuse to submit himself or herself for the reading of temperature should  be politely refused entry into the court premises and advised to leave the entrance immediately.

“Heads of courts should procure advice of health experts on the temperature levels that warrant concern and be indicative of a person with fever (‘high temperature threshold).

“The security personnel at the court entrance(s) must be trained in that regard.”

“Any visitor to the court premises, who has a high temperature, based on the temperature monitor reading at the entrance to the court or who is coughing while going through the entry protocols, should be politely advised to seek immediate medical assistance and refused entry into the court premises.

“Security personnel at the court premises shall further ensure that only persons with facemasks are allowed entry into the court premises, without exception.”


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