Two Justices of the court of Appeal today bowed out of service. Hon Justice Adamu Bulkachuwa ,as the President of the Court of Appeal and Hon Justice Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba.
Dr Babatunde Ajibade in his valedictory message to the two retiring Justices put seven of the Judgments of the Justices in the spotlight.
VALEDICTORY MESSAGE IN HONOUR OF HON. JUSTICE ZAINAB ADAMU BULKACHUWA, P.C.A. AND HON. JUSTICE CHINWE EUGENIA IYIZOBA, J.C.A.
Today, we honor two of the finest members of the Judiciary. Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, OFR, CFR, FNSI and Honourable Justice Chinwe Eugenia Iyizoba, JCA graciously bow out from the Court of Appeal of Nigeria after having served the judiciary creditably well for several years. It gives me great pleasure to write this message.
HON. JUSTICE ZAINAB BULKACHUWA
My Lord. Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, OFR, CFR, FNSI was given quite a lot of media coverage in the weeks following the commencement of the Nigerian presidential election petition in respect of the 2019 Presidential Election, when an application was brought that her Lordship recuse herself from the panel hearing the petition on grounds of possible bias. Despite the Court holding that the application had no merit, the Honourable President of the Court of Appeal decided to recuse herself anyway, for the purpose of public interest. This sole act makes clear the nature of life the Learned Justice leads.
Honourable Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa started her work career as a National Youth Service Corp member on primary assignment at the Ministry of Justice, Kaduna in 1976. She rose through the cadre to become a Chief Magistrate from 1985 to 1987. Her commitment to service led to her appointment as a High Court Judge in 1987.
At the creation of Gombe State she was deployed and sworn in as the Chief Judge of Gombe State Judiciary in 1997. Thereafter, she was appointed as Justice, Court of Appeal (JCA) in 1998. Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa became the President, Court of Appeal in April, 2014, the first female to reach that position in Nigeria.
Her Lordship has received a substantial number of awards, notable among, two National Awards; OFR and CFR in 2008 and 2014 respectively.
HONOURABLE JUSTICE CHINWE IYIZOBA
Honourable Justice Chinwe Iyizoba, J.C.A. has also had an industrious career both at the Bar and the Bench.
Her Lordship was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2010, before which time, she was a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka for over ten years and then Hon. Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice Anambra State from 1974 to 1979 when her Lordship was elevated to the Bench.
A LIFE OF DEDICATION AND SERVICE
A cursory analysis of the profile of the two learned Justices reveal dedication to service and excellence which is evident in your Lordships’ various decisions including but not limited to Alhaji Ahmed Garba Bichi & Ors. V. Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau & Ors. (2009) LPELR-3874(CA); Balogun V. NCSB & Anor. (2002) LPELR-6064(CA); Nigergate Limited V. Niger State Government & Ors. (2004) LPELR-5947(CA); Adetoun V. Lafarge Africa PLC & Anor (2018) LPELR-44733(CA); The State v. Mrs. Oluyemisi Asunmo & Ors (2017) LPELR-42606(CA); NDIC v. Gateway Paper Products LTD & Anor (2018) LPELR-43795(CA); Igwe Emmanuel Ugwu & Ors v. Chief Edward Mba (2019) LPELR-46495(CA), among so many others.
Service as a judicial officer, as we well know, is very tasking. Your Lordships have each dedicated several years to this service standing firm through thick and thin and despite the various hurdles facing the Nations Judiciary, especially in recent times with pressure from both the other arms of government as well as various criticisms by the people expressed via social and other media. Your Lordships have shown bravery and courage that should be emulated by current and future members of the judiciary now and in years to come.
I salute your Lordships.
My Lords, today, as we celebrate the years of meritorious service to one’s fatherland and as you dance gallantly to the fine beats of retirement, I thank you for your uncommon passion and dedication to duty throughout your years as Judicial Officers.
I realize that in the course of serving the nation around the country, your Lordships have had the support of your families, without which you could not have performed your duties so well. Now that you are retiring, you can spend time with them and do the little things that we all like to do with our families and loved ones.
Thank you very much for your service and we wish you well as you take on another stage in your lives.
Dr. Babatunde Ajibade, SAN, FCIArb