Valedictory Court Session For Late Justice Umezulike, Ex-Enugu State Chief Judge

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The immediate past Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Professor Innocent Azubike Umezulike who passed way at a private hospital in London, the United Kingdom, on Tuesday 26 June 2018 was given a befitting and outstanding court valedictory session at the Justice I.A Umezulike Auditorium, Enugu State High Court.

The late Chief Judge of Enugu State was described as an inspiring leader, a remarkable personality and a distinguished educationist whose intellect, integrity, hard work and vision impacted significantly on the legal profession and one who had shaped the lives of a younger generation of Nigerians.

The court session witnessed a record attendance from both the bar, bench, dignitaries and well-wishers. Justice Professor Innocent Umezulike was a Professor of Land and Property Law and the longest-serving Chief Judge in Southern Nigeria. He was also awarded Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (OFR).

See JolibaLive New! gallery of the event below…

Late Justice Umezulike was born on September 21, 1953, at Rivers State, attended St. Vincent Secondary School where he obtained the West Africa School Certificate in 1971, and later obtaining bachelor’s degree in Law in 1976 from the University of Lagos. He joined the services of the University of Ibadan in 1983, as academic staff (Grade II) in the Faculty of Law before going to Nnamdi Azikiwe University where he became an Associate Professor in 1992. On August 1993, he was appointed a Judge of Enugu State and then Chief Judge after four years of service. He also had a brief stint as a judge of the Supreme Court of Gambia.

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Late Justice Professor Innocent Azubike Umezulike

However, the late Justice in his later years was embroiled in a controversy and a political tussle with the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu. The former Chief Judge had in a letter to the National Security Adviser, NSA requested the probing of the DSP over allegations of corruption, specifically 32 choice properties in Nigeria and elsewhere which he traced to the Ike Ekweremadu. It was alleged Justice Umezulike was able to glean this information from Ekweremadu’s Will domiciled with the State courts.

In retaliation, the story goes, Ekweremadu accused Umezulike of using his position as a Chief Judge to confer an unfair advantage upon himself by inviting Prince Arthur Eze, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Oranto Petroleum Ltd, a litigant in a civil matter with Diamond Bank Plc, to his book launch in which he accepted a N10 million donation from the litigant. During investigations, it was alleged, detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  who uncovered over N632.2 million in his accounts said to be acquired through numerous bribes.

The National Judicial Commission (NJC) took up the matter and then recommended his compulsorily retirement to the the governor of Enugu state, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

Cause of death was not officially disclosed but speculations are rife that these developments were potential factors to his eventual demise.

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