Judiciary
FCT Customary Court of Appeal Introduces Law Report

The Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory FCT has inaugurated its maiden law report containing its decisions on customary disputes through the interpretation of customary laws applicable in the FCT.

The court unveiled the report last Thursday at a well-attended valedictory court session held in honour of the court’s President, Justice Moses Abu Bello, who retired on attaining the mandatory retirement age.

Speakers, including the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN); his FCT counterpart, Muhammed Bello; Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Ishaq Bello and Clerk of the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori hailed the retiring Justice Bello for his contribution to the development of the court.

Other dignitaries at the event included the Chief Judges of Nasarawa and Kogi states – Suleiman Dikko and Nasiru Ajanah;  Grand Kadi of Kaduna State, Justice Shehu Ahmed, Alex Iziyon (SAN), Israel Olorundare (SAN) and Sunday Ameh (SAN).

Presenting the law report, the FCT Chief Judge commended the initiative, which he said would help preserve the customary law and serve as a ready reference material for lawyers and researchers on that branch of law.

He eulogised the court’s retiring president for his contribution to the growth of the court, which now has 44 courts within the FCT and by so doing, assisted it by taking justice closer to the people.

The FCT CJ noted that the retiring Justice Bello will always be remembered for his development and promotion of the customary court and customary law in the FCT.

The AGF described the retiring Justice Bello as a distinguished jurist, who has contributed immensely to the development of customary laws in Nigeria.

Malami said Justice Bello’s dedication to duty and commitment to the growth of his court will serve as inspiration to lawyers and judges alike. Malami described him as a “rare jurist of substance and calibre, recognised by the judiciary and the nation”.

The FCT Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the FCT, Christian Ohaa, congratulated Justice Bello for exiting service with his integrity intact, after a deserving service to his fatherland.

He noted that Justice Bello’s tenure had been an eventful one as he succeeded in weathering the storm and addressed most of the challenges associated with customary laws in the FCT.

The FCT Minister noted that Justice Bello’s many pronouncements on customary disputes will serve as a ready guide for others, particularly judges and lawyers on issues relating to chieftaincy matters.

Sani-Omolori, who described Justice Bello as a man who has impacted positively on those around him, said he has discharged himself creditably well as a judicial officer. He prayed God to continue to guide him.

Justice Moses Bello, who became the court’s pioneer President in 1992, thanked God for the opportunity granted him to serve at that level and his contribution to the court’s growth.

He said: “I am pleased to state that we now have 44 functional Customary Courts spread across the FCT with state-of-the-art court room facilities.

“Of particular joy to me is the passage into law, by the National Assembly, of the Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT, Abuja (Jurisdiction on Chieftaincy matters) Act, 2011, which conferred on the FCT Customary Court of Appeal’s original jurisdiction to hear and determine chieftaincy matters in the FCT to the exclusion to any other court.”

By: Eric Ikhilae
The Nation News

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