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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 16:15 GMT
Boycott shuts down Nigeria courts
Nigeria Bar Association President Lanke Odogiyon
Lanke Odogiyon says citizens are shot every day by the security forces
Lawyers say they have shut down court proceedings across Nigeria, claiming their boycott is a complete success.

The Nigerian Bar Association says the protest is over the "failure of the government to comply with court orders and the violation of human rights".

President Lanke Odogiyon said disregard for the rule of law was reminiscent of Nigeria under the military.

He said the only case in the capital, Abuja, was the government failing to get a court order to stop the strike.

The Bar Association says most of its 50,000 membership followed the call on the first day of the two-day boycott and stayed away.

Political battles

The Bar Association said it wanted to demonstrate what would happen if the justice system in Nigeria ceased to function.

The lawyers say national and state governments routinely ignore court orders they do not like.

"The problem of disobedience towards court orders by members of the executive arm at all tiers of government... which was prevalent during the military dictatorship, has reared its ugly head under the present democratic dispensation," Mr Odogiyon said.

He said the problem was not just limited to disobeying court orders.

Every day, he said, defenceless citizens were shot dead by members of the security services and law enforcement agencies.

The government disputes all this and has called on Nigerian lawyers to ignore the boycott.

The BBC's Alex Last in Lagos says the protest is a public display of dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in Nigeria.

He says a further concern is that political battles in Nigeria are often fought in court, and with general elections due in 2007, lawyers want to know that judgements will be obeyed.

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