Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN)
By Tobi Soniyi
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), Wednesday urged the National Assembly to speed up the amendment of the Anti-terrorism Law pending before it.
Adoke, who spoke at the valedictory session in honour of Justice Olufunlola Adekeye on her retirement from the Supreme Court, said the speedy conclusion of work on the law would reposition the judiciary in the fight against terrorism.
He said the weakness of the former law necessitated the ongoing amendment, saying, “justice can only be done to terrorists and their financiers if penalties commensurate with the offences.”
The AGF stated that Nigeria had signed up to many global initiatives and extensive collaboration was ongoing to take advantages of available intelligence to stem the tide of terrorism in the country.
He noted that Nigeria was grappling with challenges occasioned by global terrorism and said that the situation called for concerted efforts on the part of all Nigerians to overcome it.
He said: “Our laws are being reviewed to encapsulate global best practices that will facilitate early detection and prevention of terrorist acts and terrorism financing.
“We are optimistic that the passage into law of the Terrorism Prevention Bill 2012 currently before the National Assembly will provide the needed impetus to the war against terrorism.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, in her speech, said that Adekeye was an epitome of justice, whose decisions could hardly be faulted.
She praised Justice Adekeye’s ability to incisively deal with issues and noted that the retiring jurist communicated in the most simple and analytical manner which she said was highly commendable.
She said: “Justice Adekeye is very versatile, a quality she brought to bear on her judgments. It is no wonder she was found worthy for appointment as presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal in the Ilorin Division in 2008.”
In his speech, Chief Okey Wali, the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), said “Adekeye had a remarkable career as one of the brightest stars in the nation’s judicial firmament.
“Her humility and modesty could not keep her from rising to the highest court in the land.
“Her equability of demeanour and poise of character, her solomonic wisdom and intellectual acumen, propelled her to this honourable temple where we now stand to honour her.”
In her comments, Adekeye expressed gratitude to the honour shown her, adding: “My efforts amount to naught without the presence of God.
“Nothing will gladden my heart more than seeing an increase in the number of women conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in the annual exercise.
“I can vouch that the women in the profession are sincerely up to the task and they can always excel in their endeavours.’’
In her speech, Justice Adekeye called on government to address the conditions of service of both serving and retired justices of the apex court to stem the tide of justices retiring to penury on a meagre gratuity and one of three official cars without monetisation of his official residence like his counterpart in the civil service.
She also made a case for female members of the legal profession and the need to increase the number of female lawyers in the number of those conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Justice Adekeye is also a prolific writer with numerous published works in her kitty.
Some of her published works include The Role of Women in National Development, Marriage and Divorce Under the Customary Law, Sentencing Policy among others.
Aside from her judicial contribution to the nation spanning some 40 years, Adekeye had also served in several other quasi judicial and administrative capacities worthy of mention. She was chairman, Adekeye Commission of Enquiry into Civil Disturbances in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, in November 1998. Chairman, Governorship/Legislative Houses Election Petitions Tribunal, Kaduna zone in 1998, chairman and member, Governorship Election Petition Appeals in Ilorin, Calabar, Enugu and Port Harcourt divisions.
The retiring jurist who holds a national honour of Commander Order of the Niger (CON), attended St. Andrews Primary School, Ondo State between 1947 and 1954 before proceeding to St. Anne’s School, Ibadan, (Oyo State) between 1955 and 1959.
She bagged her law degree in 1966 at the Leeds University Yorkshire and sat for her final paper of the United Kingdom Corporation of Secretaries at Sheffield College of Commerce, also in the UK.
Between 1967 and 1968, she returned to Nigeria for her Law School and was subsequently called to the Nigerian Bar in October 1968.
Justice Adekeye’s judicial career started in 1974 when she was appointed a magistrate in the old Western Nigeria.
She served as magistrate Grade 11 and 1 respectively between 1974 and 1984 before she was appointed Deputy Registrar in 1985 at the same Ondo State judiciary.
She was elevated to the bench at the High Court in 1987 and served at the High Court for more than a decade before she was again elevated to the Court of Appeal.