Governor of Anambra, Chief Sir Willie Mmaduaburochukwu Obiano has recorded yet another remarkable legacy achievement as the Court of Appeal, Awka Division was inaugurated today February 5, 2020 by the President, Court of Appeal, Nigeria, Hon Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, OFR, CFR, amidst joy and celebration.
The state which depended on the Court of Appeal in Enugu for over two decades, had sought earnestly for a division of the appellate court for many years without success. The search has however ended with the inauguration of the Court of Appeal, Awka.
In his address at the inauguration ceremony, Gov Obiano noted that “history has been made as the state finally stands on her own feet in the administration of justice after decades of relying on the Court of Appeal in Enugu for litigations beyond the jurisdiction of the High Courts”.
The Governor underscored the desire of Anambra state for socio-economic development and security of lives and property as basis for seeking a robust judicial system that will provide adequate check on the society.
He said that “no progressive society can experience rapid growth without the stabilizing presence of robust institutions of which the Judiciary is one”.
Earlier in her address, Hon Justice Bulkachuwa, thanked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court and the Nigeria Judicial Council for approving a division of the appellate court in Awka.
Justice Bulkachuwa noted that the Court of Appeal has continued to grow over the years from 1976 when there were only three divisions in Nigeria to 2011 when the number of the appellate courts grew to 16. The inauguration of the court of Appeal, Asaba Division recently made it 17 and the Court of Appeal, Awka is the 18th.
The Hon Justice commended Gov Obiano for providing necessary facilities for the smooth take-off of the Awka Division and affirmed the commitment of the court to maintain an effective presence in Awka.
She emphasized that the Court of Appeal, Awka will be a court of unity and equity where everyone who approached the court for justice, would leave satisfied.
While welcoming guests to the ceremony, the Ag. Chief Judge of Anambra State, Hon Justice O.M. Anyachebelu, noted that the Court of Appeal, Awka Division, will lift a burden off lawyers and litigants who had to travel to Enugu for over two decades to appear in the Enugu Divison of the appellate court.
He expressed gratitude to Gov Obiano and all those who contributed to the historic approval and inauguration of the Court of Appeal, Awka.
It is important to recall that Gov Obiano commissioned a five-man committee headed by Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN in 2018 with a charge to explore avenues for attracting a Division of the Court of Appeal to Anambra state.
That charge is today fulfilled as the Court of Appeal, sitting in Awka, had an inaugural session presided over by the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.
Speaking on his experiences and the fulfillment of what was obviously an arduous task, Dr Ikpeazu, SAN, expressed satisfaction over the presence of the appellate court in Anambra state in the 29th year of its existence as a state in the federal republic of Nigeria.
“I am happy and fulfilled”, he said. “It is a most rewarding experience to be part of the team that made this a reality. I commend Gov Obiano for pursuing and actualizing this vision with zeal and zest and I thank him for supporting the committee all through”.
Dr Ikpeazu said that the benefits of having a divison of the court of appeal in the state are enormous. He noted that besides saving lawyers and litigants from Anambra state the stress and risk of travelling to Enugu, the appellate court has essentially brought justice closer to the people.
Hon Justice C.E Nwosu-Iheme JCA is the Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, Awka Division.