President Tinubu Approves N30 Billion for Abuja Appeal Court Complex, Pledges Housing for Judicial Officers – FCT Minister, Wike Announces

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Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, announced that President Bola Tinubu has approved N30 billion out of the projected N37 billion cost in the 2024 budget for constructing the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court Complex.

He made this announcement on Wednesday at the groundbreaking ceremony of the complex, officiated by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, in Dakibiyu, Abuja. Wike also handed over the property’s certificate of occupancy to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Memsem.

Wike stated that the project is scheduled for completion and inauguration by September next year to align with the legal year.

“This is one project that I have seen that is well covered in the budget. This project will cost us N37 billion but in the budget Mr. President has provided N30 billion.

“The contractor has nothing to worry. So, the AGF, you know I will not be party to a contract for the sake of awarding. By September next year when we have the next legal year it will be ready. It is a contract that was given to the contractor to do in 16 months but he has promised me that with available funds, he can finish it in 13 months or one year. So prepare yourself that we do our legal year in this division,” Wike said.

He expressed his gratitude to the CJN, noting that it was under his tenure that the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal would receive a full structure.

According to Shehu Ahmad, Executive Secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), the project involves constructing a five-story building that includes 10 courts, 10 suites for the justices, administrative offices for the registrar and support staff, file rooms for case documents, and conveniences and recess areas for the justices, all located near the courts.

The FCT Minister also emphasized that President Tinubu, who was concerned about judicial officials retiring into rented houses, has approved the construction of 40 houses for judicial officers to ensure they can perform their duties comfortably.

“What Mr. President has done, I want to inform you, that we should provide accommodation-10 for the Court of Appeal, 10 for the Federal High Court and 20 for the FCT Court. I believe by August, we will lay the foundation The President has approved that the heads of court must have their retirement home. He has approved that the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the Chief Judge of the FCT, the President of the Federal Industrial Court and the President of Federal Court of Appeal must have their retirement homes.

“I want to assure you that the foundation of these homes will be laid in August and before September next year, you will all have your keys to your houses,” Wike assured.

He stressed that the President had also approved more court rooms to be provided for the magistrates, in Maitama, Asokoro and Garki Districts before the next legal year.

In his remarks, Justice Ariwoola appealed that the judiciary must be allowed to function to perform its role unhindered, as much as possible, saying, “Once you take care of the judiciary, you have taken care of justice.

“If you cry for peace anywhere in the world without justice, that can be no peace. We guarantee peace, we promise to ensure that peace is given to whoever is due, so that we can all enjoy peace. Justice is important and imperative. We promise we will always give justice,” he said.

 He also lauded Wike saying it was not only the Court of Appeal that would benefit from his legacy, but the heads of various courts and the other courts.

“I understand you had mentioned it that not even 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 to 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.

“We appreciate Mr. President, and through, the Attorney General, and yourself as the FCT Minister, we wish to convey our sincere appreciation and gratitude to Mr. President for all the things he has been doing and for the promises, we shall not disappoint, we shall not let you down,” he said.

Also the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, commended Wike for his exceptional and unique service to the legal community, particularly the judiciary.

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