The immediate past President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), Babatunde Adejumo, has revealed how a former judge of the Court, Kenneth Amadi, turned down a bribe that was offered him to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Amadi, who is among the 18 judges newly elevated to the Court Appeal bench, was hosted at a dinner on Saturday by the management and staff of the NICN in Abuja.
He is the first judge of the industrial court to be elevated to the appellate court in Nigeria, the organisers said.
Speaking at the event, Mr Adejumo, who said he employed Mr Amadi as a judge of the NICN, noted that while in service, the new Appeal Court judge was very close to him among the judges in the industrial court, because he was incorruptible and very hard-working.
“He is very articulate. He has distinguished himself since his appointment. I know about two or three occasions when people brought money to him, because they wanted to influence his decision. And, he came to me to tell me about it and I told him that I had heard about it, but was only waiting to see if he would collect the money or not. But he did not collect,” Mr Adejumo said.
He urged other judges of the court to work hard and do everything humanly possible to discharge their responsibilities diligently to enable their consideration in future elevation exercise.
In the same vein, a Justice of the Supreme Court and Deputy Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC), Mary Peter-Odili, and the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Monica Dongban-Mensem, urged judges in the country to be committed to their responsibilities owing to the enormous expectations from society.
Mrs Peter-Odili, who led a number of Justices of the Supreme Court to the event, described Mr Amadi as a diligent and committed judge.
Describing him as a brother, Peter-Odili recalled how Mr Amadi, as the chairman of the Mbaise branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), honoured her late father by naming the branch’s Bar Centre after him (her late father).
Mrs Dongbem-Memsem, who lauded Mr Amadi’s elevation to the appellate court, said “we at the Court of Appeal are delighted to have him among us, because of the wealth of experience he is bringing with him.”
She applauded Mr Adejumo’s successor and incumbent President of the NICN, Benedict Kanyip, for his role in Mr Amadi’s elevation, noting that he (Kanyip) nominated three judges of his court and, “never, at any point, indicated preference for any candidate. All he wanted was to see that NICN too is represented on the Court of Appeal’s bench.”
Mrs Dongbem-Memsem noted that Mr Amadi’s elevation to the appellate court was based on his tall academic credential of excellence as an academic with a doctorate degree in law and judge of high moral standing as attested to by his former colleagues at the industrial court.
Mr Kanyip noted that with his elevation, Mr Amadi has made history, noting that he broke the jinx by being the first judge of the NICN to be elevated to the Court of Appeal.
Speaking on his role in Mr Amadi’s elevation, Mr Kanyip said, “Although we had three persons recommended by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) to the NJC’s interview panel, only Justice Amadi made it.
“This places a huge burden on you, because if you don’t represent us well, you have effectively shut the door for others. So, the burden on you is to represent us very well so that others can come behind you.”
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, John Tsoho, who described Mr Amadi as a trailblazer and ambassador of the NICN at the Court of Appeal, admonished him to justify the confidence reposed in him and advised that he should not detach himself from his roots, being the NICN.
The Chief Registrar of the NICN, Olurotimi Daudu, equally eulogised Mr Amadi and prayed for God’s continuous guidance and protection as he climbs the judicial ladder, noting that his absence would be felt by staff of the court.
In his response, an elated Mr Amadi, who was accompanied to the occasion by his wife and children, said he was humbled by the array of persons and dignitaries, including Justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, among others, who graced the occasion.
Mr Amadi promised to remain committed to the service of fatherland and would not betray the confidence reposed in him by his elevation to the appellate court’s bench.
Dignitaries at the event included a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Kumai Akaahs, and some other serving judges of the court – Olukayode Ariwoola, Inyang Okoro, Ejembi Eko, Abdul Aboki and Mohammed Garba.
Among the Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) at the event were, Harris Ogbole, Alex Izinyon, Damian Dodo, Akinlolu Kehinde, Joe-Kyari Gadzama.
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