August 12, 2022

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On Monday, Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court in Lagos refused to hear two cases brought by a human rights lawyer, Malcolm Omihrhobo, who came to court dressed in a lawyer’s gown and ‘native doctor’ attire.

The lawyer was also barefooted, with cowries tied around his two legs. His wig had two long feathers, cowries in his two hands, and a red wrapper tied around it, while he wore his lawyer’s gown over it.

Some lawyers objected to the human rights lawyer’s appearance before Justice Ringim in such attire, arguing that he could not be heard because he was not properly dressed as a lawyer before the court.

Omihrhobo, who had on Thursday caused a stir at the Supreme Court in Abuja for appearing in court the same way, said it would be a violation of his right if he was not heard; noting that the rules could not be above the nation’s constitution.

He said, “My Lord, the rules cannot supersede the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Upon his argument, Justice Ringim, however directed Omihirhobo to address the court on why he should be heard the way he was dressed on the next adjourned date in a suit delineated to FHC/L/CS/929/2022; (Chief Malcolm Omihrhobo) sued the Federal Government of Nigeria and others.

The same happened in his second suit marked FHC/L/CS/1392/2021 against the Nigeria Army and two others before the same court.

The court ordered that the address must not be more than five pages with the authorities, and must be filed before the adjourned date.

When his case was called, he announced his appearance as the applicant and some lawyers, Abdullah Dania, Mohammed Adamu and one Festus Afeyodion, told court that he should not be heard as he was not properly robbed.

Dania said, “I am a lawyer, my Lord can imagine the way my learned friend appears before the court as a professional. The rules that govern us as a lawyer do not allow improper dressing.”

Adamu told the court that he would like to furnish the court with his written submission in line with the direction of the court.

The judge said, “You cannot address the court like this as a professional. I will adjourn your matter and you come and address the court if the rules allow you to appear in court like this.”

Consequently, the judge adjourned to October 10, 2022.

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