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‘Judiciary’s contribution to nation-building remains solid’

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Newly retired Justice, Court of Appeal, Atinuke Akomolafe-Wilson has lauded the judiciary’s enormous contributions to nation-building.

In a valedictory speech, to mark her 70th birthday and retirement, after 44 years of being Called to the Bar, she said: “I believe the judiciary has made enormous contributions to nation-building but the public has been unfair to Nigerian judges, past and present… Judiciary is ours to cultivate and not to plunder. From experience, I understand the stressful demands of judicial office.

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“I think that judicial office holders deserve commendation and adequate reward.

She admitted that there are a few bad eggs but argued that this did not justify the bashing of judges, “who hardly have the opportunity to defend themselves.”

She lamented that there is no progression in judges’ earnings while serving.

“For instance, a judge that was appointed 30 years ago still earns the same salary as one appointed today. There is no increment in salary.

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“We need to deploy more funding to the judiciary to adequately remunerate serving judges and appoint more,” she said, adding that the appointment of judges ought to strictly be on merit and not based on favouritism, lobbying, and worse of all, partisanship.

“The judiciary deserves to be respected. Any form of clamp down on the Bench for whatever reason is an affront on the judiciary,” she said.,

The event took place in Benin-City, the capital of Edo State, where she had served as Director of Public Prosecution, Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, and High Court Judge before her elevation to the Court of Appeal.

Present at the occasion were Governor Godwin Obaseki, Governor Nyesom Wike (Rivers State), former Governor Osunbor, former Governor John Odigie-Oyegun, and Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State) while Governors Dapo Abiodun (Ogun) and Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) were represented.

Others were the Esama of Benin, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chief Judge of Edo State, Justice Esther Edigin, and President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mesem, among others.

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