Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Tuesday swore in three High Court Judges and a Customary Court of Appeal Judge following their recommendations by the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The new High Court Judges who were sworn in at a colourful event held at the EXCO Chambers of the Government House, Enugu, include Justices Chinedu Vincent Ezeugwu, Chukwunweike Anukenyi Ogbuabor and Mathew Chukwujiofo Onyejife Eluke, while Justice Nnenna Celia Madu was also sworn in as a Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal.
Hon. Justices Ezeugwu and Eluke until their elevation were private legal practitioners. Hon. Justice Ogbuabor was a senior lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, while Hon. Justice Madu until her appointment was the Secretary, Magistrate Association of Nigeria, Enugu branch.
Swearing in the new Judges, Gov. Ugwuanyi said that the action was in compliance with section 271 sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, which provided that “the appointment of a Judge of the High Court of a State, shall be made by the governor acting on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC)”.
The governor added that section 281 sub-section (2) of the said Constitution also provided that the appointment of a Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal of a State shall be made by the governor acting on the recommendation of the NJC.
He disclosed that the appointment of the new judges and their swearing in came as “a welcome relief to the Enugu State Judiciary and the people of the state who had for long endured the difficulties occasioned by the dearth of judges in the state”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who stated that approval has been given for the construction of two model customary courts for each of the 17 local government areas, pointed out that his administration has reached many milestones in its continual efforts to reposition the State Judiciary for more efficient service “especially through the provision of suitable infrastructure and essential tools and equipment”.
The governor also disclosed that renovation work has commenced at the State Judiciary Headquarters, among other interventions, expressing optimism that “these measures coupled with the appointment of new judges would help in no small measure to further enhance the efficient administration and speedy dispensation of Justice in Enugu State”.
He, therefore, congratulated the new judges on their deserved appointments and expressed confidence that they will conduct their new responsibilities with due dignity, integrity and commitment, “having been found suitable for elevation to this hallowed pedestal”.
Earlier in her introductory remark, the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Priscilla Ngozi Emehelu, while narrating the procedures observed in line with the provisions of Rules 3 and 4 of the NJC guidelines, stated that the commission considered sound knowledge of the Law, seniority at the Bar and Bench, geographical spread, good character, reputation, consistent adherence to professional ethics and satisfactory and consistent display of mature judgment in the office as a Chief Registrar or Chief Magistrate, in the appointment of the new judges.
Hon. Justice Emehelu on behalf of the State Judicial Service Commission, acknowledged and commended the remarkable contributions of Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration in providing facilities for the Judiciary, stressing that “this gesture attests to His Excellency’s resolve to reposition the State Judiciary for effective, efficient and speedy dispensation of justice in spite of paucity of funds and the competing needs of other sectors”.
Responding on behalf of others, Hon. Justice Ezeugwu, thanked God for making the event a reality and went further to appreciate Gov. Ugwuanyi, the Chief Judge, the State Customary Court of Appeal President, their mentor, Hon. Justice Centus Nweze of the Supreme Court, among others, for their contributions towards the career growth.
He, therefore,promised that they will discharge their duties with the fear of God, fairness and to the best of their ability.