Malami extols qualities of Justice Adejumo, retiring President of National Industrial Court

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  • Abubakar Malami SAN*

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami has described Justice B.A. Adejumo, as one of the best legal icons that the nation can be proud of in its present day legal chronicle.

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He stated this on Monday in his speech at the valedictory session to mark the retirement of Justice Adejumo as President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

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According to the Minister, “Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo, OFR, is a reputable jurist per excellence, and has remained one of the best legal icons that this nation can be proud of in our present day legal chronicle. His Lordship can at best be described as an honest, resilient pace-setter. His ingenuity in law and legal matters was the reason why his contemporaries and colleagues fondly call him ‘the Legal Encyclopedia’, while others call him the ‘Legal Master’.”

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He added that “His prowess as a legal guru facilitated and paved way for his election into the House of Assembly of the Old Ondo State. This was followed by his appointment as a Chief Magistrate where he served at Ikere Magisterial District in the Old Ondo State Judiciary until December 21, 1995 when he was meritoriously appointed a Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where he served in different challenging positions, including as the Secretary, Advisory Judicial Committee, as well as Secretary, Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee until his meritorious elevation/appointment as a Judge of the High Court of Ondo State Judiciary on November 5, 1998.”

Malami noted that “His Lordship’s decisions and impeccable leadership became manifestly obvious, hence the rationale for his appointment as the President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria on the 14th April, 2003, a position he creditably and satisfactorily hold till retirement.”

He pointed out that “It is without doubt that from 2003 till date, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, under His Lordship’s watch and headship has witnessed amazing evolutionary transformations and turn around through his visionary, selfless service, hard work, foresight, forthrightness, integrity, and confidence-inspiring leadership style.”

The Attorney General of the Federation counseled that “As we gather today to celebrate the retirement of this erudite legal scholar and seasoned jurist, we must, of great importance, reflect on the enormous contributions made by His Lordship to the development of our judiciary.”

He listed “ some of the great achievements and the amazing transformation which the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) recorded during the leadership era of His Lordship, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo” as:

  1. Increase of the staff strength of NICN from 123 to 1,500;
  2. From 6 graduates as at 2003, to more than 200 graduates as at date in the staff-fold of NICN;
  • From two divisions (Lagos and Abuja Divisions) to 14 Judicial Divisions across the country, with Eight of the divisions commanding state of the art modern Court Complexes, and well sophisticated and architecturally imposing Headquarters in Abuja that is at the verge of completion;
  1. Finally, we must call to mind the jurisdictional status of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria before now. It is noteworthy that through His Lordship’s relentless commitment and requisite contacts and lobbying, the National Assembly was moved to enact the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 as the enabling law of the National Industrial Court. This was regarded then as an alluring milestone by stakeholders in the labour and industrial relations sector.
  2. Further to above feat, My Lord Hon. Justice Adejumo did not rest on his oars but persevered with determinant passion and zeal until the 1999 Constitution was further amended to establish the National Industrial Court of Nigeria as a superior court of record thereby bringing to permanent solution, the controversies bedeviling the legal status of the Court after the Supreme Court in 2010 held the NICN to be an inferior court of record. By virtue of the Third Alteration Act, 2010, Section 254 of the Constitution of the FRN, 1999 was amended to provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria over all labour, employment and allied related matters, and indeed, as a superior Court of Record.

Saying that he was glad and proud to celebrate Justice Adejumo as he bows out of the Bench, the Minister said Nigerians will miss his “laudable expertise and judicial activism aimed at promoting the cause of justice to Nigerian workers and contributions to the Nigerian Legal Profession.”

See the full text of the Minister’s speech below:

SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE,

  1. ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN

 

AT THE VALEDICTORY SESSION OF THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL COURT OF NIGERIA (NICN) TO MARK

THE RETIREMENTOF HIS LORDSHIP, HON.

JUSTICE B. A. ADEJUMO, OFR (RTD.)

 

HELD AT THE NICN, ABUJA

ON MONDAY, 30TH SEPTEMBER, 2019

 

PROTOCOLS: 

My Lords, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am indeed honoured by the invitation extended to me by this special Court to present a speech on this valedictory session marking the retirement of His Lordship, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo, OFR.

  1. Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo, OFR, is a reputable jurist per excellence, and has remained one of the best legal icons that this nation can be proud of in our present day legal chronicle. His Lordship can at best be described as an honest, resilient pace-setter. His ingenuity in law and legal matters was the reason why his contemporaries and colleagues fondly call him ‘the Legal Encyclopedia’, while others call him the ‘Legal Master’.
  2. His prowess as a legal guru facilitated and paved way for his election into the House of Assembly of the Old Ondo State. This was followed by his appointment as a Chief Magistrate where he served at Ikere Magisterial District in the Old Ondo State Judiciary until December 21, 1995 when he was meritoriously appointed a Deputy Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, where he served in different challenging positions, including as the Secretary, Advisory Judicial Committee, as well as Secretary, Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee until his meritorious elevation/appointment as a Judge of the High Court of Ondo State Judiciary on November 5, 1998.
  3. His Lordship’s decisions and impeccable leadership became manifestly obvious, hence the rationale for his appointment as the President, National Industrial Court of Nigeria on the 14th April, 2003, a position he creditably and satisfactorily hold till retirement.
  4. It is without doubt that from 2003 till date, the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, under His Lordship’s watch and headship has witnessed amazing evolutionary transformations and turn around through his visionary, selfless service, hard work, foresight, forthrightness, integrity, and confidence-inspiring leadership style.
  5. As we gather today to celebrate the retirement of this erudite legal scholar and seasoned jurist, we must, of great importance, reflect on the enormous contributions made by His Lordship to the development of our judiciary. I therefore find it peculiarly fascinating to stress on some of the great achievements and the amazing transformation which the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) recorded during the leadership era of His Lordship, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo:
  6. Increase of the staff strength of NICN from 123 to 1,500;
  • From 6 graduates as at 2003, to more than 200 graduates as at date in the staff-fold of NICN;
  • From two divisions (Lagos and Abuja Divisions) to 14 Judicial Divisions across the country, with Eight of the divisions commanding state of the art modern Court Complexes, and well sophisticated and architecturally imposing Headquarters in Abuja that is at the verge of completion;
  1. Finally, we must call to mind the jurisdictional status of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria before now. It is noteworthy that through His Lordship’s relentless commitment and requisite contacts and lobbying, the National Assembly was moved to enact the National Industrial Court Act, 2006 as the enabling law of the National Industrial Court. This was regarded then as an alluring milestone by stakeholders in the labour and industrial relations sector.
  2. Further to above feat, My Lord Hon. Justice Adejumo did not rest on his oars but persevered with determinant passion and zeal until the 1999 Constitution was further amended to establish the National Industrial Court of Nigeria as a superior court of record thereby bringing to permanent solution, the controversies bedeviling the legal status of the Court after the Supreme Court in 2010 held the NICN to be an inferior court of record. By virtue of the Third Alteration Act, 2010, Section 254 of the Constitution of the FRN, 1999 was amended to provide for the exclusive jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria over all labour, employment and allied related matters, and indeed, as a superior Court of Record.
  3. In the light of the foregoing, I wish to state that I am indeed glad and proud to celebrate My Lord, Hon. Justice Adejumo as he bows out of the Bench. Indeed, the entire Nigerians will miss your laudable expertise and judicial activism aimed at promoting the cause of justice to Nigerian workers and contributions to the Nigerian Legal Profession. Your efforts in strengthening and protecting industrial relations and harmony in Nigeria cannot be forgotten in the chronicles of the Nigerian legal system. For these and other noble and laudable achievements, our nation will remain forever grateful to Hon. Justice Adejumo and will not hesitate to call upon My Lord for additional interim national services.
  4. As an unassuming, transformational, visionary, humble, and cerebral jurist, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Adejumo, OFR through his legal prowess and synergetic leadership has rewritten the history of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria from its former visionless-dead-end to its glorious transformed status. Indeed, posterity must irrepressibly and continuously acknowledge His Lordship’s landmark achievements in the evolutionary evolvement of the NICN.
  5. We must all call to mind that his carriage in the discharge of his judicial job was faultless and this ideology resonates and retains its potency in the landmark and well celebrated judgments he either delivered or participated in. He demonstrated the virtues of focus, patience and hardwork in handling all the undertakings in which he found himself a participant, and as a result His Lordship was conferred with the prestigious National Merit Award of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)as a mark of his renowned fame and excellence.
  6. My Lords, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, this occasion will not afford us the opportunity to embark on a comprehensive examination of the contributions of Hon. Justice Adejumo to the evolution of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN). Thankfully, his Judgments are already fully documented in our Labour law reports, newspapers, Legal Journals and even in the public consciousness. It suffices to say that he was a teacher, and a friend to lawyers who appeared before him, a passionate and supportive colleague to his brother Judges on the bench, and an inspiration to the wider society.
  7. On behalf of the Nigerian Bar, and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I felicitates with My Lord, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo, OFR. the Acting Chief Judge of the NICN, the present and past Judges of the NICN and indeed the entire Nigerian Judiciary, on the retirement of My Lord, Hon. Justice Adejumo.
  8. Finally, My Lord’s contributions to the transformational agenda of our national life will continue to inspire our vision to transform Nigeria into a society of peace and industrial harmony, where law will reign supreme and our society will become more humane and caring.
  9. IN CONCLUSION, I once again felicitates with His Lordship, Hon. Justice B. A. Adejumo OFR, as he gloriously bows out from the Bench as the first President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), and it remains the indebt prayers of this nation, that as you gave all you had in bringing about the rejuvenation and resuscitation of the NICJ, a medium through which multiple numbers of Nigerian litigants continue to seek and obtain justice and obedience to the rule of law in all matters of industrial relations, may God Almighty continue to strengthen you with good health, peaceful and memorable retirement.
  10. Congratulations my Lord; and thank you all for your attention.

ABUBAKAR MALAMI, SAN

Honourable Attorney General of the

Federation and Minister of Justice

 

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