Some legal practitioners and other stakeholders have hailed the President of Appeal Court on their choice of Anambra state as a place to site an Appeal Court Division.
The President of Appeal Court, Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, had in an approval letter made public last week gave five conditions to Anambra state government which included a court hall and residences for five justices as prerequisite for establishment of Appeal court division in the state.
The State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr Uju Nwogu, said, “We have already more than met the conditions. For instance, the former Customary Court of Appeal building in Awka can serve as the administrative building, complete with chambers for five justices.”
The Special Adviser on Legal Matters to Governor Willie Obiano, Mrs Patricia Igwebuike, said the state has five storey buildings in an upscale estate in Awka to act as living accommodations for the justices and other offices to serve as administrative and accounting units as well as a registry.
They said the move was a step in right direction as over 70% of the cases at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal originate from Anambra State even as governor Willie Obiano, on December 2018 set up a five-person committee headed Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to work for the creation of the appellate court.
Other members of the committee were, Mrs Patricia Igwebuike, the Special Adviser to the State Government on Legal Matters (Secretary), Justice Anthony Iguh, formerly of the Supreme Court; Dr Uju Nwogu, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; and Mr Emeka Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
According to Mr Daniel Ewelum, a SAN based in Kaduna, “The presence of the appellate court in our state will save our people the cost of having to travel to Enugu frequently in large numbers to obtain justice. It will also reduce the time of obtaining justice and the huge fees paid legal practitioners for their services”.
Chudi Onyiuke, a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Onitsha branch, said, “the governor could not have assembled a better crack team to bring justice nearer home to our people. I know every member of the team, and they are a winning team any day anywhere.”
To both Chief Emmanuel Egbunonu and Mr Ejike Ezenwa, who practise in the state, the decision to establish a division of the appeal court in Awka came rather fast because of the calibre of people on the committee.
Amaka Ezeno, a lawyer in Anambra State who has travelled on the messy Onitsha-Enugu Road on countless occasions to appear before the appellate court in Enugu, expressed gratitude to governor Obiano “for going beyond the call of duty to achieve this wonderful goal for our people”.
On his part, the chairman of the Anambra South Traditional Rulers Council and monarch of Isseke, Ihiala LGA, Igwe Emmanuel Nnabuife, in a congratulatory message to Governor Obiano on the approval for the appellate court in the state, said it was commendable, and described the governor as “a man of foresight and commitment”.