Arraignment of varsity student who killed lawyer dad stalled

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Justice Anigbogu

Anambra State Judicial system was literally grounded recently as lawyers of various ranks, judicial workers, litigants and others ‘abandoned’ their duty posts, and closed up the courts in the state to pay glowing tributes to one of their own, during a valedictory section held in honour of the retiring judge of the State High Court, Hon. Justice C. E. Kalajine Anigbogu.
It was a day solicitors threw there wigs in the air to dance “azonto” and make merry for a successful 47 years tenure of their man in office. Federal and Local council courts officials were not left out as they trooped out en masse to rejoice with their state counterparts. The event also beheld bishops, high profile politicians, human rights activists, priests of various ranks, and indeed the creme de la creme from all walks of life from across the nation doffing their caps in honour of the legal luminary who they described as a “moving library of law.”
Justice Anigbogu had started as a third Class Clerk in the Ministry of Justice of Eastern region of Nigeria in September 12, 1966, and rose through the ranks until his appointment as a judge in May 8, 2001 having served in various parts of the country. He held the until his retirement recently.
Series of ceremonies marking his retirement from judicial service, included special thanks­giving, valedictory court session, and presenta­tion of his book entitled: On The Bench: Judicial Imprints of Hon. Justice C. E. K. Anigbogu & Contributing Essays, among others.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Judge of Anambra State, Justice Peter Umeadi who was represented by Hon. Justice Ijem Onwuamaeg­bu, the administrative judge, Idemili Judicial Di­vision eulogized the outgoing judge describing him as a fearless advocate.
“Anigbogu is a fountain of knowledge. He has the law at his fingertips. Of course, he is an expert and authority on administrative matters. Several times, he has bailed us out on adminis­trative issues, taught us what to do. And he does not hesitate to share his knowledge. Of course, he is a perfect gentleman; a very amiable judge, completely courageous and fearless.”
In his speech at the valedictory court session in the premises of Anambra State High Court, Awka, the state Attorny General, Mr. Anali Chude rained encomiums on the retired judge, noting that “with his exit from the bench, the higher bench in Anambra State has lost one of its finest hands.”
The visibly elated senior judge while making his remarks thanked God for making his 47 years in the bench a fruitful one noting that “when I sit back and recall these past years with all the experiences: good, bad, ugly, pleasurable, wonderful, glorious, and sometimes embarrass­ing, I feel humbled and overwhelmed by the grace of God which has attended my way these past 47 years.”
Justice Anigbogu used the opportunity to pin-point some of the ills of the judicial system which he said militates smooth administration of justice. He observed that unwholesome practices have crept into the judiciary through the activi­ties of some some staff members.
“When we talk about the growing level of indiscipline, disorderliness, and low productivity in the judiciary, it must be noted that such situa­tions exist where administrative imperfections or deliberate punitive policies have subjected operatives to conditions of hardship and frustra­tion borne out of cumulative provocation. This is the situation that exists in Anambra State.
“They have been subjected to severe hardship in that their meagre salary is exhausted within the first week of the month on transport to work. They are left with no option than to resort to
begging or extorting money from lawyers or litigants in order to go to work. They therefore get involved in unwholesome practices and are easily compromised by people who want to cut corners in the court.”
He noted that some state governors violate the provision of the law on staff payments which pave way for the unwholesome practices; saying that “it is sad to note that in Anambra State and in some other states of the federation, the state governors have unilaterally and without any lawful authority amended the provisions of the Certain Political and Judicial Office Holders (salaries and Allowances, etc) Act No. 6 of 2002 and the subsequent Amendment Act No. 1 of 2008 and gone ahead to pay to judicial officers at a rate 100 per cent lower than what the law prescribes. This is a serious breach on the Oath of Allegiance and Oath of Office which the respective governors swore to before the assumption of office.”
The jurist also slammed the lawmakers at the national and state levels; saying that “never evaluated the laws made for the judiciary to see how well the laws are performed and how well they have been implemented.”
Earlier in his sermon at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, Awka, Bishop of Awka Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Alex Ibezim revealed that “traps were set for him when he was the clerk but he stood strong and upright. Throughout his service in the court, he was upright and straight-forward” even as he admonished judicial officers to “depend and look up to Jesus Christ who is the Perfect Judge. Every one of you should learn humility, just like Jesus showed humility while on earth.”

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