The Deputy Chairman, National Judicial Council (NJC), Justice Mary Peter-Odili and the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, have charged Nigerian judges on diligence and commitment to duty.
This, they said, is in view of their strategic roles in the sustenance of the country’s democratic structure.
The Justices gave the charge in Abuja at a dinner and night of tributes held by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in honour of Justice Kenneth Ikechukwu Amadi, the first judge of the court to be elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Justice Peter-Odili, who led a number of justices of the Supreme Court to the event held last weekend, described Justice Amadi as a diligent and committed judge.
Describing him as a brother, Peter-Odili recalled how Amadi, as the Chairman of the Mbaise branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), honoured her late father by naming the branch’s Bar Centre after him in recognition of his role in opening the branch.
Dogbem-Memsem, who applauded Amadi’s elevation to the appellate court, said: “We at the Court of Appeal are delighted to have him among us because of the wealth of experience he is bringing with him.”
Justice Dogbem-Memsem further commended the President of the NICN, Justice Benedict Kanyip for his role in Amadi’s elevation.
The PCA recalled that Kanyip nominated three judges of his court and, “never, at any point, indicated preference for any candidate.
“All he wanted was to see that NICN too is represented in the Court of Appeal’s bench”.
For Kanyip, Amadi has made history and has broken record with his elevation as the first judge of NICN to be elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Speaking on his role in Amadi’s elevation, Kanyip said: “Although we had three persons recommended by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) to the NJC’s interview panel, only Justice Amadi made it.
“This places a huge burden on you because if you don’t represent us well, you have effectively shut the door for others. So, the burden on you is to represent us very well so that others can come behind you”, he said.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, who described Amadi as an ambassador of the NICN at the Court of Appeal, urged him to justify the confidence reposed in him and never to detach himself from his root, being the NICN.
Also speaking, the immediate past President of NICN, Justice Babatunde Adejumo (Rtd), who said he employed Amadi as a judge of the NICN, noted that while in service, Amadi was very close to him among the judges in the court because he was incorruptible and very hardworking.
“He is very articulate. He has distinguished himself since his appointment. I know about two or three occasions when people brought money to him because they wanted to influence his decision.
“He rejected the money and came to me to tell me about it. I told him that I have heard about it but was only waiting to see if he would collect the money or not. But he did not collect”, Adejumo stated.
He urged other judges of the court to work hard and do everything humanly possible to discharge their duties diligently to enable their consideration in future elevation exercise.
The Chief Registrar, NICN, Olurotimi Williams Daudu, equally eulogised Amadi and prayed for God’s continuous guidance and protection as he climbed the judicial ladder. He, however, noted that staff of the court would feel his absence.
In his response, an elated Amadi stated that he was humbled by the array of persons and dignitaries, including Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who turned up to honour him.
Amadi assured that he would remain committed to service to his fatherland and will not betray the confidence reposed in him by his elevation to the appellate court’s bench.
Also at the event were retired Justices Kumai Akaahs, Olukayode Ariwoola, Inyang Okoro, Ejembi Eko, Abdul Aboki and Mohammed Garba, all of the Supreme Court.