October 17, 2021

By Atinuke Tokura Nukay/TnTv Network

The Senate through The Senate through its Committee on Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal Matters charged the Acting President of the Appeal court, Justice
Monica Dongban-Mensem to be forthright and firm in adjudications, if eventually confirmed as by the Senate as substantive President of the Court of Appeal.

The Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (Ekiti Central) gave the charge during the screening of the Presidential nominee for the President of the Court of Appeal at the National Assembly for screening on Wednesday in Abuja.

L-R Sen. Ovie Omo Agege (Deputy Senate President and Member of the C’tee, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, (Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters

In his words…

“You must demonstrate the required courageous leadership the Judiciary deserve by standing up in fair and fearless manner by the Nigerian people when it comes to justice .

“Your Lordship must ensure that Justice is not only delivered but in timely manner because justice delayed, is justice denied.”

Senator Bamidele further called for the need to revisit the welfare of judges which he says is one percent of the overall annual budget.
He added that the insignificant votes given the Judiciary requires urgent and upward reviews.

He lamented further by stating that the welfare situation of the judicial officers, is nothing to write home about .

According to him, the last time salaries and emoluments of judicial officers were reviewed, was in 2008 , the benefits of which have been completely eroded by inflationary trends

“It should not be business as usual , the very reason the Senate and by extension,the National Assembly , is revisiting the budget of the Judiciary which is less than 1% of the N10.509trillion 2020 budget size for the country “.

” This sector might go into extinction if the needful is not urgently done , because in years to come , Nigerians may no longer be interested in going into the sector ” , he warned .

The itch free screening which also had the Deputy President of the Senate as part of the Committee had members of the Committee give nods to Justice Mensem who has been in the Judicial system for four decades.

Earlier before the Chairman’s closing remarks , virtually all the Senators who attended the screening session from the Deputy President of the Senate to other members of the committee , described the nominee as square peg, nominated for fixing into a square hole.

Hon.Justice Monica Dongbam Mensem

In response, Justice Mensem assured of putting in her wealth of experience to rid the Judicial system of delay in adjudication of cases. Pledging that it will be reduced to the barest minimum if eventually confirmed as substantive President of the Court of Appeal, while part of the innovation she would bring to bear is making the court digitally complaint.

The nominee in her introductory remarks , said she had spent 40 years in the Judiciary from 1980 when she was called to bar and served in the Ministry of Justice and subsequently appointed as Registrar of the Court and made Magistrate few years after which culminated in her appointment as Judge of High Court in Plateau State in 1996 .

She added that she became judge of FCT High Court thereafter till 2003 when she was transferred her service to FCT Judiciary as Judge of FCT High Court till 2003 when invited to serve as a Justice of the Court of Appeal .

“I’ve lived the substantial part of my life in the Judiciary and I have tremendous passion for its positive transformation , one of which is my intention of making the Court of Apoeal ICT compliant when confirmed as substantive President .

“I also have a lot of compassion for fellow human being and a solution provider and not trouble maker “, she said .

Monica Dongban-Mensem who is the most senior Judge of the court of appeal was first appointed in an acting capacity in March 5, 2020, for an initial term of 3 months, following the retirement of the then President court of appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa and subsequent recommendation from the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Muhammad.

Her tenure in acting capacity was further extended for another 3 months in May 29, 2020, following the expiration of the initial 3 months.

President Muhammadu Buhari had sent the nomination of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, the Acting President, Court of Appeal, to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive President Court of Appeal in line with the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

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