A drama was staged at the Okpoko magistrate court in the Ogbaru Local Government Area, near Onitsha, Anambra State, on Thursday, when proceedings were disrupted as a lawyer, identified as Ogbachalu Goshen, appeared in court dressed in full priest robes, looking like a reverend.
The court proceedings, presided by Her Worship CB Mbaegbu, were on until a matter was called up and Goshen announced his appearance as a defence counsel.
When the Magistrate told him he cannot appear and address the court in that regalia, he objected, citing the recent Supreme Court judgement that gave female students the backing to wear hijab in public schools as a precedent.
As the Magistrate stood her ground that he cannot appear in her court in that mode of dressing, Goshen also insisted that it was his right and that the objection by the Magistrate was an infringement on his fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As the arguments continued with both the Magistrate and the lawyer refusing to shift ground, the Magistrate rose, thereby forcing the court to dismiss immediately.
Various lawyers and people who came for different matters filed outside as the Magistrate immediately entered her car and drove off.
But in an interview, Goshen justified his actions and said that the incident had already become a constitutional matter since the Supreme Court made such a ruling.
He said the court should also answer what will happen when a female Muslim lawyer enters the court in her hijab.
He said that he is an ordained pastor and should also be allowed to appear that way in court since the Supreme Court has decided.
Asked whether the ruling is in the best interest of the judiciary, he said that for now, it remains a precedent that must be obeyed unless there is a judicial review.
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