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Appeal Court sets to open in Anambra



  • Citizens eulogise stakeholder

FOLLOWING revelation last week that a division of the Court of Appeal is to open soon in Awka, the Anambra State capital, stakeholders have continued to commend Court of Appeal President, Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa and the state government for their pre-eminent roles in bringing the court nearer to the people.

Legal professionals in the state and others have continued to express their joy on the move, noting that the court ought to have been established in the state capital much earlier than now because not less than 70 per cent of the cases at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal originate from Anambra State as Gov. Willie Obiano had noted.

The governor last December set up a 5-man committee headed by Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Onyechi Ikpeazu, to work for the creation of the appellate court.

Special Adviser to the State Government on Legal Matters, Patricia Igwebuike was appointed as secretary and the other committee members are Justice Anthony Iguh, formerly of the Supreme Court, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Uju Nwogu, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Emeka Etiaba.

“The presence of the appellate court in our state will save our people the cost of having to travel to Enugu frequently in large numbers to obtain justice”, said Daniel Ewelum, an SAN based in Kaduna but hails from Anambra State.

“It will also reduce the time of obtaining justice and the huge fees paid legal practitioners for their services.”

Chudi Onyiuke, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Onitsha, noted, “the governor could not have assembled a better team to bring justice nearer home to our people. I know every member of the team and they are a winning team any day anywhere”.

To both Emmanuel Egbunonu and Ejike Ezenwa, who practise in the state, the decision to establish a division of the appeal court in Awka came rather fast because of the calibre of people on the committee.

“There is an important lesson in all these for all Nigerian people. There is no replacement for meritocracy if Nigeria is to leapfrog in developmental terms.” Egbunonu stated.

Mr Ezenwa concurred, “Meritocracy, which Governor Obiano has made a way of life in the state, is the way to go.”

A leading Lagos-based practitioner, Frank Ndu Ndibe told reporters that Justice Bulkachuwa is one jurist reputed for a powerful sense of justice and is committed to service delivery. We are by no means surprised that she did the right thing in rather record time”.

Amaka Ezeno, a lawyer in Anambra State who has travelled on the messy Onitsha-Enugu Road on countless occasions to appear before the appellate court in Enugu, expressed gratitude to governor Obiano “for going beyond the call of duty to achieve this wonderful goal for our people.”

This morning, the chairman of the Anambra South Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Emmanuel Nnabuife, an engineer who is also the traditional ruler of Isseke in Ihiala Local Government Area, sent a congratulatory message to Governor Obiano on the approval for the appellate court in the state, describing him as “a man of foresight and commitment”.

The letter signing the approval for the Appeal Court in Awka was signed by the Court of Appeal president who gave five conditions before the court could start, and the conditions include a court hall and residences for five justices.

“We have already more than met the conditions”, according to the Attorney and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Nwogu.

“For instance, the former Customary Court of Appeal building in Awka can serve as the administrative building, complete with chambers for five justices.”

Corroborating Dr Nwogu’s statement, the Special Adviser on Legal Matters revealed that five elegant storey buildings in an upscale estate in Awka have been secured as living accommodations for the justices.

Igwebuike added that there are enough offices to serve as administrative and accounting units as well as a registry.

“There are also sufficient accommodations for staff members for takeoff of the Court of Appeal,” she assured.



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