Court Of Appeal Abuja To Get Permanent Structure After 27 Years

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal will finally have a permanent site, 27 years after its establishment.

The groundbreaking and foundation laying ceremony for the new five-storey building took place on Wednesday, with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, leading the event.

The Abuja Division, established in 1997 according to the Court of Appeal President Justice Dongban Mensem, has outgrown its current location. He described the shared space as a logistical and security challenge, especially during high-profile cases.

President Bola Tinubu approved the N37bn project, with N30bn already allocated in the budget. The project is expected to be completed within 14 months.

FCT Minister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, who spearheaded the initiative, highlighted the President’s commitment to the judiciary’s needs.

“We must thank Mr President, when the President of the Court of Appeal came last year during their legal year, you know sometimes when you make a request and you see a politician accepts, most of them don’t agree but knowing the president we have and his commitment I knew it would come to reality.

“When he came back, I took this matter to Mr President and I told him that this was the request made by President of Court of Appeal and the CJN who was there emphasized on it, and I want to tell you wholeheartedly that Mr President said ‘why do you need to wait, after all it is the FCT that rehabilitated the National Assembly Phase 1, it is FCT that rehabilitated the National Assembly Phase 2, which is an arm of government, So why are you not going to do this for this part of government?’

“Mr President is not doing this alone. He has also provided, when he heard where justices are living, people who are trying criminals and terrorists, he said we should have a judiciary who has their own houses,” the FCT minister said.

The new courthouse, located in Dakibuyi District Sector Centre B, will boast 10 courtrooms, office space for judges and staff, file storage facilities, and break areas for judges.

Construction is expected to be completed within 14 months, with the building ready for use by September 2025.

Minister Wike also announced plans to provide housing for judges, including 10 units for the Court of Appeal, 10 for the Federal High Court, and 20 for the FCT High Court.

“He (the President) has approved that the heads of courts must have their retirement homes and I want to assure you that by August, the foundation of these houses will be laid,” he added.

CJN Ariwoola expressed his appreciation for Wike’s support, acknowledging his past contributions to the judiciary as Governor of Rivers State.

“What we are having is a great thing. We have gotten the division of the Court in Abuja managing the small space they occupy. Now you have 10 Court rooms and offices in a five-storey building.

“On behalf of the Judiciary, the honourable minister of the FCT, we thank you very much, we appreciate you for what you are doing. You have just told the whole world, that not only the Court of Appeal will benefit from your legacy, but also the heads of various courts and the other courts.

“I understand you have mentioned it that not even the apex court will be forgotten. My board of justices of the Supreme Court are not here, but they said I should pass it on to the honorable minister of the FCT, that we don’t have another place to go too other than the FCT.

“So we believe that your administration and the administration of your boss, the head of government, will not forget about the apex court in the legacy being given to the judiciary,” he said.

President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Yakubu Maikyau, applauded the project stating, “FCT was established in 1976 the same year that the Court of Appeal was established. FCT has had 16 ministers before Wike but it is only now that we are having a ceremony such as this.”

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