By Alex Enumah
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, on Friday swore in Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as the substantive President of the Court of Appeal, with a charge to maintain the credibility and integrity of the appellate court.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony which held at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, Justice Muhammad enjoined the new Court of Appeal President to live up to expectation by maintaining cordial relationship with her colleagues on the bench of the Court of Appeal.
The CJN while stating that the appellate court has the largest number of Justices in the country, stressed the need for the president to be up and doing.
Specifically, the CJN counseled Justice Dongban-Mensem, who is the second female to be appointed President of the Court of Appeal, 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.
The CJN further tasked the new appellate court president 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.
“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,” CJN added.
Responding to questions from journalists, shortly after her inauguration, Dongban-Mensem expressed joy over her confirmation as the substantive President of the Court of Appeal.
She 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, adding that she will build on the legacy left behind by her predecessors.
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.
The president, late last month, again extended her acting capacity for another three months but however sent her name to the Senate for confirmation as substantive president last week.
Among well wishers at the swearing in ceremony included governors of Sokoto, Plateau, Niger and Kebbi States.