Justice Ejembi Eko bows out of Judiciary today


By Kenneth Atavti and Sunday Ogli

Supreme Court today holds valedictory session for Justice Ejembi Eko at the Main Courtroom, about two weeks after a similar session was held for Justice Mary Odili who attained the mandatory age of retirement.

The erudite Justice is leaving the apex court bench having attained the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.

The Director of Press and Information, Dr. Festus Akande, confirmed in a statement last Wednesday that the Justice has signified intention to pull out of the judiciary in line with the provisions of the law.

The session will be presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad and will traditionally feature speeches by major stakeholders in the Justice sector.

Those stakeholders include the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Chairman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria and, of course, the Valedictorian, Justice Ejembi Eko, JSC.

Justice Eko who hails from Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State attended Methodist Primary School, Ugboju-Icho from 1958-1962.

From there he proceeded to Native Authority Primary School, Ugbokpo, Apa from 1963-1965, Wesley High School, Otukpo from 1966-1970 and Government College, Keffi from 1971-1972.

After his secondary school education, the eminent jurist proceeded to the University of Ife, Ile-Ife from 1973-1976 and Nigerian Law School, Lagos from 1976-1977.

He was called to the Nigerian Bar on 2nd July, 1977.

Justice Eko commenced his legal career in 1977 with the Kaduna State Ministry of Justice where he served under the National Youth Service scheme.

From August 1978-January 1980, he delved into private legal practice, starting as a Junior Counsel at Omakwu & Onyeke Chambers, Otukpo, Benue State.

On the 1st of February, 1980, he began practice at his private law firm, Eko & Co, Otukpo as a Principal Counsel. From June 1982-March 1987, he worked as a Senior Partner at Eko & Onum, Otukpo.

Justice Ejembi Eko was appointed first Director of Civil Litigation, Benue State Ministry of Justice in April 1987.

He served in this capacity until he was appointed Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Benue State Ministry of Justice on the 1st of October, 1987.

He was appointed Judge of the Benue State High Court on 9th February, 1989. He rose to become Acting Chief Judge of Benue State from November 2005-February 2006.

Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko has served in various ad-hoc duties including: Coroner for Otukpo, Benue State, 1981-1987 and Maiden Secretary, Benue State Law Reports, 1979-1987.

He also served as Leader, Benue State Team (Legal) at the Obudu/Vandeikya Border Dispute Commission, 1987-1988.

Other ad-hoc duties performed by Justice Eko included Chairman, Local Governments Election Tribunal-Bayelsa State, 1998; Chairman, Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal-Jigawa State, 1999; Chairman, Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Tribunal-Enugu State, 2003 and Chairman, Benue State Local Government Election Appeal Tribunal, 2004-2007.