The 25th day of August, 2020 marks a milestone in Taraba State Judiciary considering the great and significant event that took place at the Council Chambers of the Government House, Taraba State where two outstanding women were sworn in as High Court Judges.

Before now, the bench in Taraba State has been deficient or bereft in the area of gender sensitivity and this became one of the thorny issues at the last Bar-Bench forum held in Jalingo, where lawyers bore their mind, putting into consideration the fact that since the creation of the State, the judiciary has had only one female High Court Judge who later rose to become the Chief Judge in 2012. Upon her retirement on the 15th day of June, 2019, the Bench was left with no female Judge: hence the significance of their appointment cum swearing in today to both the Bar and the Bench.

We must be quick to add that these women were not just appointed for the sake of balancing the issue of gender, rather these Judges earned their nominations and appointments based on their sterling credentials and experience in their respective areas of engagement. Going through their resumes, it is evidently clear that they have distinguished themselves in the legal profession and we expect them to bring their years and wealth of experience to bare in the task ahead. The two delectable women are non other than Justice Vonkat Clara Jummai Gebon Timothy Kataps and Justice Kodiya Blessing Kazera.

The highly humble, amiable Justice Vonkat Clara Kataps was born on the 30th June, 1967 at Kaduna State. Though she hails from Plateau State but married to the lion of Mambilla, Honourable Gebon Timothy Kataps Esq who was the former Attorney General of the State as well as the former Secretary to the State Government, she attended Zaria Children School, Zaria where she obtained her First School leaving Certificate in 1977. She later attended Government Secondary School, Kankia, Katsina State where she got her Waec. She proceeded to College of Advanced Legal Studies, Zaria and graduated in 1984. She was at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Law, (LL.B) in 1990 and thereupon proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos for her Barrister at Law (B.L) Certificate, and upon graduation was called to the Bar as a Barrister, Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1992.

For work experience, she had her Youth Service Programme at Yola North Local Government Area, Adamawa State and upon completion of service, she joined the law firm of L.D Nzardon and Co located at Mubi Road, Yola, Adamawa State where she practiced from 1992 to 1994. She thereafter took up an appointment with Durgu Aeronautical System and Management Consult, Abuja where she was their Legal Adviser from 1995 to 1996. As a result of her love for practice, she joined the law firm of Patrick Ediale and Co from 1997 to 1998. She later proceeded to joined the law firm of her beloved husband known as Kataps and Associates in 1998, where as Managing Attorney, she reformed the entire Chambers considering the fact that her husband was neck deep into politics. She later took up an appointment with Taraba State Judiciary as Senior Magistrate in 2004 where she rose through the ranks to become a Chief Magistrate. She was the Deputy Chief Registrar of the High Court, Taraba State from 2012 to 2017 and later elevated as Chief Registrar from 2017 to the 24th August, 2020, where she was sworn in as a High Court Judge. She is loved by all considering her significant contributions to the Judiciary where she was the Chairman of Magistrate Association of Nigeria, Taraba State Chapter and also Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Taraba State Chapter respectively.

For Justice Kodiya Blessing Kazera Ishaku, she was born on the 5th day of October, 1980. She hails from Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State. She is a product of Fatima Private School where she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate in 1992. She attended Federal Government College, Jos and graduated in 1998 with flying colours. She thereafter proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for her Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B) and upon graduation in 2005 she followed it up to the Nigerian Law School for her Barrister at Law (B.L) Certificate, from where she was called to the Bar in 2006. She had her Youth Service Corp programme at Karu Area and Planning Development Authority, Karu, Nassarawa State. She took up an appointment with Legal Aid Council of Nigeria where she rose through the ranks and was the Assistant Chief Legal Aid Officer in Abuja FCT from 2017 to 2018. She is today sworn in as a High Court Judge.

For us Taraba Lawyers, we are overwhelmingly happy about their appointment. The appointment of these two having passed through rigorous competence and selection process will no doubt strengthen the capacity of Taraba State Judiciary which will in turn translate to an improved service delivery justice sector in the State.

Once again congratulations to Your Lordship Justice Clara Jummai Kataps and Justice Kodiya Blessing Kazera Ishaku.

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