Lawyer seeks better package for retired judges
From Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

ENCOMIUMS poured in torrents recently for 68 years old retiring Justice Alfred Awala of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Anthony Mogboh, made a strong case for enhanced welfare package for retiring Justices in the country.

Mogboh canvassed the entrenchment of policy that could enable them enjoy facilities available to them while in office at least two years into their retirement as a way of preparing them to join the society.

Lamenting what he described as 'dehumanising situation' faced by some justices of Nigerian Courts after retirement, he stressed that attempts to overcome such difficulties encouraged corruption in the practice.

Speaking during a valedictory court session in honour of the retiring Justice Awala, held at the Court of Appeal, Enugu, he said that time had come for the country to accord dignity and honour to Nigerians who have distinguished themselves meritoriously in the service to the country.

He said that Justice Awala by his dint of hard work has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the bench and bar, stressing that he had lived to the dreams of his heart desires.

In his speech, Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime, said that after 20 years in the bench, the retiring justice had left an indelible mark in the judicial activism of the country, stressing that his retiring voluntarily about two years before his retirement age was worthy of emulation.

He said that his contribution to the stability and development of Court of Appeal Enugu Division would not be forgotten in a hurry, stressing that the judiciary and law profession would miss his judicial expertise.

Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, while wishing the retiring justice well, called on judges to continue to uphold the virtues of the profession, stressing that the country could not talk of virile democracy without a sound and effective judiciary.

He said that the judiciary in the last couple of years has risen to the challenge of the profession, explaining however, that more needed to be done to really put the profession in the right perspective as well as play its leading roles.

Speaking also, President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, stated that the judiciary would miss the zeal and patriotism displayed by the retiring justice in his job, pointing out that the Court of Appeal would continue to promote virtues that could impact positively on the country's democracy.

While accepting his retirement as the act of God, retiring Justice Awala, who waxed philosophical, said that, he choose to retire at the age of 68, two years into his official retirement age, "as the wish of God," saying he was appreciative to God that he was retiring in health.

Born on June 26 1941, Justice Awala hails from Jakpa, Warri North Local Government area of Delta State.

He attended St. Lukes Primary School, Sapale from 1948 to 1955 and proceeded to Okotie Eboh Grammar School, Sapele from 1955 to 1957. From 1957-1960, he attended Hussey College, Warri where he sat and obtained West African Cambridge School leaving certificate. He left the shores of the country in 1963 to Belham and Tooting College and obtained GCE A Level in Economics and History from 1968-1969.

He attended Eailing College (University of London) in 1973 as well as revision classes at Leeds University UK in 1973-1974 for the LLB Degree. He sat and obtained it in 1974 with honours.

He returned to Nigeria in 1976 and that same year enrolled as a student in Nigeria Law School and sat and passed the bar examination in 1977 and was the same year enrolled as barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court.

He was appointed Chief Magistrate grade II in 1989 in the then Bendel State and after creation of Delta State appointed a High Court judge. He was sworn in as a Justice of the Court of appeal on June 2006 and is married with children.


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