Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has sworn in Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the new President of the Court of Appeal, who has been in acting capacity since the retirement of Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa. Muhammad challenged her to ensure the protection of the credibility and integrity of the appellate court. The brief ceremony took place at the Supreme Court complex, Abuja.
The CJN who mainytained that the appellate court has the largest number of Justices in the country, stressed the need for the president to be up and doing just as he enjoined her to sustain the cordial relationship that exists between the sister courts. Justice Dongban-Mensem, is the second female to be appointed President of the Court of Appeal in the history of Nigeria, which celebrates 60 years of independent come October first.
The CJN said the new President to ensure regular meetings with presiding justices in all divisions of the court as well as other justices to enable them understand challenges that may face the court and to continue with her good character, behaviour and hardwork, adding that the sky will not only be a limit but a stepping stone for her.
He said, “From my personal experience, workload in the Court of Appeal, especially in the divisions is the highest. It is a home of work, it is a home of cooperation, but with your experience, hard work and zeal, you will not find your new status difficult. If you sustain your good character and conduct, your tenure will definitely be an excellent one. Try to be yourself and do not allow others derail you. Remain what we know you for.”
The new president however said she felt honoured and at the same time challenged to be appointed into the office of the President of the Court of Appeal, based on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari. She assured Nigerians that she will do her best in ensuring that justice is applied at the appellate court.
Justice Dongban-Mensem was first appointed Acting President in March 6, this year by President Buhari, following the retirement of former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, who had on that day attained the compulsory retirement age of 70 years.