Justice Ishaq Usman Bello, Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory High Court has said that his recent elevation to the position of a Life Bencher means additional responsibility which he is prepared to discharge.
Justice Bello’s elevation is coming just a year afte the Institute Of Advanced Legal Studies’ conferred on him a Fellow Of the Institute which, also is the highest honor for his contributions to intellectualism and development of law across the justice delivery system in Nigeria.
Speaking at a dinner organized in his honour by friends and family at the Shehu Musa Yaradua Centre Abuja at the weekend, the Chief Judge described the body of benchers as a very important body with heavy responsibilities.
Justice Bello’s elevation to a Life Bencher in the body of benchers which is the highest level one can attain in the legal profession in the country, has however been described as well deserved.
Making this observation at the dinner which was attended by legal practitioners, government officials and family members, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro SAN said Justice Bello possesses all the requirements to becoming a Life Bencher.
“It is a well-deserved elevation. I happen to be in the body of benchers and I have been there with His Lordship. I can tell you that his contributions at our meetings were always very outstanding,” Mr Usoro said.
He attested to the numerous contributions and innovations brought into the discussions of the body by Justice Bello, saying they are what earned him the elevation.
“I know him to be a great person, hardworking and somebody with integrity which are the things needed to be a life Bencher,” he said.
Similarly, Justice Olasunbo Goodluck, Judge of the FCT High Court who extolled Justice Bello’s elevation, noted that it was no surprise because of his numerous contributions to the judiciary nationwide.
“Attaining this level does not come as a surprise for My Lord because it is well merited. He deserves it, he has done so much for the judiciary not only within the FCT but nationwide. I think the highest one can attain as legal practitioner today, is to be a life bencher, but then he has distinguished himself as one,” she said.
Acknowledging the remarks, the FCT Chief Judge noted that the position of a life bencher also also also comes with added expectations because the body is responsible for selecting would-be lawyers of the Nigerian Law School and to see if they are fit both in character and learning, to qualify for admittance into the Nigerian Bar and to be so registered as Advocates of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“And that is the only time they can practice after they have been called to the Bar and registered as Advocates. So it means that is a very important position with great responsibilities,” he said.
For his part, Mr Saifullahi Bello, a lawyer and son of the Chief Judge who spoke on behalf of the family, pointed out that the CJ, as a hardworking and dedicated man, is deserving of what he has achieved.
He said he was very proud of his father’s achievement and hoped he would be able to measure up with the standards that have been set.