By Tambaya Julius
The Nigerian legal landscape witnesses a momentous occasion as Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, officiates the swearing-in of nine distinguished Justices into the Court of Appeal.
This event marks a pivotal moment in their careers and ushers in a new era of legal service in Nigeria.
Justice Ariwoola reminds the newly appointed Justices of the intensified public scrutiny they will face due to their strategic roles.
With the nation’s focus squarely on them, their conduct and decisions will undoubtedly play a crucial part in shaping the legal landscape.
Standing alone with a good conscience, as Justice Ariwoola aptly puts it, is a formidable challenge they must embrace.
The current state of Nigeria’s legal system demands their unwavering dedication.
Notably, the country grapples with a surge in novel crimes and political cases, which place an immense burden on the dockets.
This rising tide of litigation underscores Nigeria’s reputation as one of the most litigious countries globally.
In this context, the imperative is clear – it’s time to encourage alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. By doing so, the courts can alleviate the unnecessary strain on resources and human capital.
Justice Ariwoola firmly places the responsibility on these new Justices to confront these challenges head-on.
The litigants’ expectations are high, and it is their divine mandate to uphold honesty and sincerity in discharging their judicial duties.
As they ascend to the Court of Appeal, their actions now lay the foundation for potential elevation to the Supreme Court.
This daunting path may be fraught with high-profile cases and temptations, but maintaining their reputation and integrity is paramount.
Meet the New Appellate Court Justices:
Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun (Kaduna State):
Appointed as a High Court Judge on May 24, 1999, Hannatu Azumi Laja-Balogun brings decades of experience to the Court of Appeal.
Binta Fatima Zubairu (Kaduna State):
With her appointment as a High Court Judge on October 31, 2001, Binta Fatima Zubairu’s judicial journey is a testament to her commitment to the legal system.
Peter Obiora (Anambra State):
Sworn in as a High Court Judge on January 17, 2005, Peter Obiora brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his new role as an appellate court Justice.
Justice Okon Abang (Akwa Ibom State):
Appointed as a High Court Judge on June 22, 2009, Justice Okon Abang’s judicial career is marked by dedication and service to the people of Nigeria.
Asma’u Musa Mainoma (Federal Capital Territory):
Assuming the role of a High Court Judge on February 1, 2013, Asma’u Musa Mainoma brings her expertise and dedication to the Court of Appeal.