It was a day of tributes and eulogies as the entire judiciary community gathered at the Multipurpose Hall of the Judiciary Headquarters to attend the special court session in honour of the departed former Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom state, late Hon Justice Eno Bassey Otu. The tributes to the late jurist was capped by the unveiling of the new name of the NBA Uyo branch Bar Center, now renamed Hon Justice Eno B. Otu Bar Center, by the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom state, Hon Justice Godwin Abraham, who also announced the renaming of the state’s Multi-Door Courtroom after the late legal icon.
In his eulogy, the State Chief Judge described his late predecessor as a “trail blazer, a prayer warrior, an Evangelist, a great Judge, daring woman, a philanthropist per excellence, a bold vocal , fearless and courageous woman”.
The CJ enumerated all the trail blazing achievements of the late Judge to include, the first female lawyer of Akwa Ibom state extradition, having graduated from the University of Nigeria, with an LLB in 1966; her having to attend two law schools, “Biafra” law school from 1967 to 1968 and Nigerian Law School from 1968 to 1969? When she was called to the Nigerian Bar. She was to become the first female Judge in Akwa Ibom, when she was elevated to the Bench on January 12, 1989, after she had held the positions of Permanent Secretary and Solicitor General of Cross River state and later Akwa Ibom State. She was to become the first female Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State on March 25, 2008.
Hon Justice Eno Otu was credited with many other achievements, including the founding of the first Multi-Door Courtroom in Akwa Ibom state, which became the fourth in the whole country. She built many courts and created enabling atmosphere for career development. She also built and donated the structure housing the Bar center to ease the stress of lawyers, who at then had no place to change and refresh while in court at the judiciary headquarters.
A product of Etinan Institute, the late Chief Judge was also described as a philanthropist, whose “spirit of giving”, according to the current Chief Judge, “knew no sex, ethnic background, tribe or state of origin. She simply enhanced the wellbeing of whoever came across her.”