The Southern Kaduna Lawyers Forum (SKLF) has honoured three distinguished jurists from the area in the persons of Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, Justice David Wyom and Justice Benedict Kanyip,
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the trio were honoured on Tuesday at a dinner in Kafanchan, in recognition of their meritorious and unblemished service to the Nigerian judiciary.
The Chairman of the Forum, Mr Francis Kozah explained that the honour was to celebrate sheer hard work and doggedness of the trio as distinguished jurists from southern Kaduna.
“We are here to celebrate God’s faithfulness for our very own Aka’ahs who retired as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and Wyom who retired as a Judge of Kaduna State High Court.
“Aka’ahs and Wyom have left as erudite judicial officers of unmatched integrity, discipline, hard work, diligence and above all, unblemished.
“On the other hand, Justice Kanyip is today the President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, the first southern Kaduna indigene to head a federal court in the country.
“The Lord has indeed done great things for us,” Kozah said.
The Chairman on the Occasion, Justice James Abiriyi, commended SKLF for recognising their own for their exceptional feat in service to Nigerian judiciary and urged young lawyers to emulate them.
Also speaking, Gen. Zamani Lekwot, an elder statesman lauded the initiative while commending the forum for their consistency in protecting the rights of the marginalised.
Mr Zakari Sogfa, in a paper entitled, “Toast to Excellence” pointed out that the honourees were among pioneers of the legal profession in southern Kaduna in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Sogfa, a former Attorney General in Kaduna State, described them as potential mentors of both the older and younger generation of lawyers .
“They have demonstrated fidelity to their oaths of office and deserving of our adulation as worthy ambassadors of southern Kaduna people.
“Their personal values, experiences, and combined wisdom constitute a treasure of community knowledge and legacy,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, Aka’ahs thanked SKLF for the honour and urged the forum to make the dinner an annual event to motivate more people.
“You can also use the event to take stock of achievements, challenges and suggest way forward,” he said.
NAN reports that Aka’ahs was called to the Bar in 1975 and began his career at the Kaduna State Ministry of Justice. He left the service in 1980 as a Senior State Counsel and moved to private legal practice.
In 1986, Aka’ahs was appointed a Judge of the Federal High Court, the first from southern Kaduna to be so honoured and in 1998, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal and later to the Supreme Court.
Aka’ahs retired on Dec. 12, 2019 having attend the age of 70.
Justice Wyom was called to the Bar in 1984 and began his career as Assistant Registrar, High Court of Justice Kaduna.
He rose through the ranks to become a High Court Judge of Kaduna State in 1999 and become the number three judge in the division before retiring on Dec. 16, 2019.
On his part, Justice Kanyip, the first lawyer in Southern Kaduna to earn a PhD, began his career as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Commercial Law, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria in 1987.
Kanyip rose to the position of Lecturer II before leaving to the National Commission for Colleges of Education as Principal Legal Officer in 1992 and in 1995.
He was appointed Senior Research Fellow by the Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies and rose to the rank of Associate Research Professor of Law in 2000.
Same year, kanyip was appointed Judge of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and was sworn in as the President of the court on Dec. 13, 2019.
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