The Nigerian Bar Association, Uyo branch has adopted the motion proposed by Dr. Amanim Akpabio to name the NBA Bar center at the Judiciary Headquarters, Uyo after a former Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom state, Hon Justice Eno B Otu, who recently passed on. The proposal was adopted at the November 2017 edition of the branch’s monthly General Congress of the Bar.
In a letter of proposal sent to the branch to effect the naming, Dr. Akpabio recalled that it was at the time of Hon Justice Otu, that the building was donated to the branch. On her part, Eno-Obong Akpan Esq, the branch chairman noted with nostalgia the love the late jurist had for the Bar, describing her as “revered life Bar man”. She recollected the difficulties lawyers in the branch and visiting lawyers used to face at the judiciary complex before the Bar center was established.
Several members spoke glowingly of the late jurist and her contributions to the growth of the law in the state and her enviable place in the history of the Akwa Ibom state judiciary. In his proposal letter, Dr. Akpabio had said of the late first female Chief Judge of the state, “She started the Multi-Door Court House of Akwa Ibom, built the NBA Secretariat in the Court Premises, initiated the use of public address system in the Akwa Ibom Courts, ensured that judges, magistrates, DROs etc had local and international trainings in ADR and ICT. She lifted the veil and employed many to serve in the Judiciary in various capacities. She was like the proverbial incorruptible judge in the performance of her functions. Highly favoured and celebrated by her colleagues at the bench and by heads of other arms of Government. She retired with great pump, with people weeping and longing that she had a longer stay. Even those who may have hated her, could hardly speak out in public, because her impact was profound, cross-cultural, trans-generational and largely nondiscriminatory.”
After the adoption of the motion for the renaming of the center, Eno-Obong Akpan Esq, branch chairman commended members for recognizing and appreciating the contributions of the late Judge and prayed for the repose of her soul. She called on lawyers to attend the valedictory court session in her honour and all the funeral ceremonies for the burial of the former Chief Judge.
During the meeting, the chairman briefed the members on the efforts so far made by the executive to draw the attention of government to the difficulties lawyers and litigants are facing, in paying filing fees and making other payments, but regrettably nothing has been done to ameliorate the situation. Several members of the branch spoke of the challenges of the system and posited that if nothing is done, justice in the state will suffer, urging the state government to take a cue from some other states where the judiciary has been exempted from the system because of the peculiar nature of court transactions.
After several propositions, members mandated the branch executive to liaise with the other branches of the Bar in Ikot Ekpene, Eket and Oron, to ensure synergy in addressing the difficulties of TSA which can be experienced all over the state; with the mandate that after such consultations, a definite ultimatum should be issued to the relevant government department, urging for a rethink on the implementation of TSA for the judiciary.
Highlights of the month’s meeting included the cutting of birthday cake by members born in November, an initiative of the Eno-Obong Akpan administration.