The NBA President, Y. C Maikyau, SAN, has described Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo (Judge), as one of the faces of the modern Judiciary, who as a legal practitioner and during his time on the Bench, invested in the mentorship of young legal professionals.
Maikyau, SAN, said this in his address during the valedictory court session held in honour of Hon. Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo on the 22 September, 2022 at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He further extolled the qualities of Hon. Justice Taiwo, calling him a thoroughbred legal practitioner and an exemplary jurist. According the NBA President, Hon. Taiwo J. was a hard-working, firm, knowledgeable Judge who sat at 9:00am and not so soon thereafter, and that for one to appear before his Lordship, counsel had to be abreast with both the law and their case, for his Lordship often had them answer questions pertaining to both.
He noted that His lordship was always in control of his court, not by intimidation or high-handedness, but by the combination of a good mastery of the law and temperance, and was therefore, able to discharge the duties of the office with firmness and fairness.
“This may not be unconnected to the fact that, prior to being appointed to Bench, his Lordship had a long and vibrant career at the Bar for 27 years”, Maikyau, SAN further added.
The NBA President then made reference to an incident that occurred during his Lordship’s days at the Bar, when he had appealed to the Court to give a young counsel who had come to court to hold brief for his senior, but was not prepared as to what to do and how to handle the said case as well as reply to the submissions of the other party, a chance. When the Court obliged his Lordship’s request, he took the young counsel outside, and armed him with laws, cases and procedures, and when the matter was called again, the young counsel to the amazement of the Bar and Bench, eloquently addressed the court on the matter before it, to the court’s unhidden admiration.
Maikyau, SAN, also used the opportunity to pre-inform his Lordship that despite his retirement, he should expect to be called to service at different fora. In fact, he notified his Lordship of NBA’s invitation for him to serve on the Faculty of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education.
The NBA President also stated that Hon. Justice Taiwo while on the Bench, was concerned with promulgating justice and nothing else: “As a jurist, Honourable Justice Taiwo is renowned for his belief that a Judge should preoccupy himself with doing justice in a matter, rather than wondering what the appellate court Justices or the people would say about his judgement”.
“I make bold to say that his Lordship’s sense of duty continues to resonate through his judgements delivered in the period he spent on the Bench, where his Lordship carved a niche that will continue to speak in history”, Maikyau, SAN added.
Furthermore, Maikyau, SAN established that Hon. Justice Taiwo understood the role the Federal High Court has played and continues to play since its creation in 1973, in the economic development of Nigeria, hence his landmark decisions in matters relating to the economy and the general affairs of the country.
The NBA President then highlighted some of the cases Justice Taiwo passed Judgement like:
1. FHC/ABJ/CS/113/2021 – E-Naira Payment Solutions Limited v Central Bank of Nigeria: where Hon. Justice Taiwo held the view that the launch of the digital currency was in the interest of national economic advancement, and since the Plaintiff could be adequately compensated by damages, his Lordship ordered that the launch should proceed.
2. Suit No.FHC/ABJ/CS/1370/2021 – Federal Republic of Nigeria v Yan Bindiga Group & Yan Ta Adda Group: where his Lordship had declared the group, and similar groups, involved in banditry, kidnappings for ransom, kidnappings for marriage, mass abductions of children, cattle rustling, etc., as terrorist groups.
3. Miss Grace Anita Paul v. The Chief of Army Staff, the Army, Inspector General of Police & the Nigerian Police Force: where his Lordship held that the Nigerian Army lacks the power to arrest, investigate and hold in custody, anyone who is not subject to the Armed Forces Act or any other military law.
4. FHC/ABJ/CS/822/2021 – CBN Governor v Rise Vest Technologies Ltd & 5 Others
According to Maikyau, SAN, all these decisions amplify his Lordship’s attitude to matters affecting national interest, also demonstrate the role the Judiciary plays in the economic development and security of the nation, and highlight the need for constant synergy between the executive, legislature, and the Judiciary, as well contribute to the growth of the legal profession and shaped the economic and socio-legal landscape in Nigeria.
He continued thus: “My lord is one of the faces of the modern Judiciary. His Lordship’s career on the Bench, is demonstrative of the fact that it is not how long, but the impact of the time used – the quality of the judgements delivered by his Lordship and their impact testify to this fact”,
Finally, the NBA President used the opportunity to wish his lordship a happy belated 65th birthday, while appreciating his wife, Honourable Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the High Court of Lagos State, and children, for the support given to his Lordship throughout his Lordship’s career.