The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem yesterday declared that she would continue to dispense justice in fear of God and according to the laws of the federation.
She made these remarks at a thanksgiving mass held to commemorate her first anniversary in office at St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Jos, Plateau State yesterday.
At the church programme, Dongban-Mensem said she was overwhelmed by the show of love from the Church, people and government of Plateau State, the executive, legislature and judiciary, and Nigerians from all walks of life that have come out to celebrate her.
She, therefore, said she would remain firm in her resolve to do justice to all people according to the laws of the land and the oath of office she took.
She added that she would discharge her responsibilities, recognising that God is the judge of all where she would also give account of her stewardship.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Chairman of Northern State Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, described her as a justice of good character and dexterity.
In his goodwill message, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who was a classmate of Dongban-Mensem at the Nigerian Law School, urged her to serve Nigeria in fear of God.
Among others, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyelson Wike; his Oyo State counterpart, Mr. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and Nasarawa State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel Akabe were present at the thanksgiving mass.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, described her as a justice of good character and dexterity who emerged as the head of the second highest court in Nigeria by merit.
He added that Dongban-Mensem had demonstrated diligence in handling the affairs of the appellate court and strengthening reforms towards the speedy and honest delivery of justice to Nigerians of all backgrounds.
Buhari charged her to put in her best and raise the bar in the dispensation of justice by assisting the government in fighting corruption, crime and acts inimical to national development.
Also at the thanksgiving, Fayemi said Dongban-Mensem “is a woman of substance who has a rich pedigree in the Bench and is known to be fearless, uncompromising and intolerant of inducement in the course of discharging her duties.”
He added that the success of women like her creates more room for Nigerian women to occupy other sensitive offices and perform creditably.
Also speaking yesterday, Lalong said the thanksgiving mass and grand reception was organised to honour her and give glory to God for lifting her from humble beginning to the peak of her career.
He said the state was very proud of her achievements and has decided to celebrate her and showcase her as an example to the world because of her diligence, hard work and the grace of God.
In his sermon, Catholic Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Dr. Hillary Dachelem, said the turnout of people from all walks of life and various backgrounds to celebrate Justice Monica was an indication that Nigerians could live in peace and collaborate to build a greater Nigeria.
Dachelem called for constructive and sincere criticism of Nigerians leaders to enable them to discharge their duties diligently.
He said peaceful coexistence was critical to the progress of the country adding that everyone “is supposed to be in the vanguard for peace, dialogue and good governance.’’
He congratulated Dongban-Mensem for her successful one year in office, saying it was important to appreciate God for His faithfulness, urging government officials to be truthful, faithful and fair in all they did.
He called on leaders to avoid promoting divisive tendencies that promote intolerance, violence and hatred as God created humanity with peace and love in his image.