Give commercial cases same priority as election petitions -Clem Agba

Former Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, has called for the prioritisation of commercial cases as is done to election petitions.

According to him, development would be hampered without quick and efficient commercial dispute resolution mechanisms.

Agba spoke in Asaba, Delta State capital, on the theme: “Impact of Justice Idigbe on Nigerian Commercial Jurisprudence through his Judgments.”

The event was part of a year-long programme organised by the Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors in honour of the late Supreme Court Justice, Chukwunweike Idigbe.

The late Justice Idigbe founded Punuka Chambers in 1947. It metamorphosed into Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors.
The centenary celebrations continued on Friday with the inauguration of the “Hon. Justice Chike Idigbe e-Library & Resource Centre” donated to the Asaba Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, by the Punuka Foundation.
On the same day, there was a public lecture in honour of the late Justice Idigbe, organised by the NBA branch.
The day ended with a dinner event tagged “An Evening with Prof Poonam Puri.”

 From left: President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, Dele Oye; Senior Partner, Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, Dr. Anthony Idigbe, SAN and former Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, at a dinner tagged “An Evening with Prof. Poonam Puri” as part of activities to mark the centenary of late Supreme Court Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe in Asaba, the Delta State capital, weekend.

Puri, a professor of law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada, delivered a lecture at the dinner, chaired by Prince Agba.

The high point was the inauguration of the “Hon. Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe Museum and Youth Centre” on Saturday, which was preceded by the Holy Mass at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Asaba, and a visit to the Asagba of Asaba’s Palace, where the Idigbe family paid homage to His Royal Majesty, Chike Edozien, who was a contemporary of the late Justice Idigbe.

READ ALSO:Kwara govt to support EFCC’s fight against illegal miners

Agba said: “The theme touches on the very foundational life of our nation and a critical factor in nation-building.
“It is the extent to which we factor economics and commerce in our legal jurisprudence that determines our development.

“The bane of our development is the relegation of economics in our political ideas and commercial jurisprudence in our legal process.

“I wish to draw the attention of this sophisticated audience to the inordinate attention to politics in the nation’s legal jurisprudence instead of commerce or economics.

“I dare say that no matter the investments that we make in infrastructure or other developmental facilities, sustainability is a function of our commercial jurisprudence.

From left: Senior Partner, Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, Dr. Anthony Idigbe, SAN; Professor of law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada, Poonam Puri and former Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba at dinner tagged “An Evening with Prof. Poonam Puri” as part of activities to mark the centenary of late Supreme Court Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe in Asaba, the Delta State capital, weekend.

“A legal system that facilitates prompt and timeous resolution of electoral disputes, while neglecting commercial disputants is prone to under-development or socio-economic stagnation.

“Indeed, national development is a function of the judicial organ, which in turn depends largely on commercial jurisprudence.

“Whether local or foreign, investors are more keen on the state of the judicial organ and prevalent jurisprudence, in taking or making critical investment decisions.”

Prince Agba paid tribute to Justice Idigbe, describing him as a quintessential jurist and a fearless advocate of the rule of law, who gave the best of legal interventions in all areas of human endeavour.

“He had the unique opportunity of transversing the legal profession like a colossus and he is remembered not only as a jurist par excellence but as an advocate for equity, justice and the fair application of the rule of law.

“He was renowned for his landmark judgments, which continue to shape the legal landscape of Nigeria to this day,” he said.

READ ALSO:Operatives of Lagos Neighbourhood Safety charged to be diligent

Principal Partner at Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), said the year-long events were designed to honour his father, who would have been 100 years on August 12.

He said the Museum and Youth Centre would preserve the legacy of Justice Idigbe.

Chief Idigbe said: “I’m humbled by the opportunity to celebrate the centenary of Hon. Justice Idigbe. It’s actually a no-brainer. It’s easy to celebrate a good product. Every day, I realise it’s such a great honour to be his child.

“These events are about him, about the legacy he has left for us. It’s for us to continue to sustain it.”

Museum and Youth Centre inaugurated in Asaba

On the Museum and Youth Centre, the SAN said: “The building is essentially in four parts. One part is a museum intended to preserve the legacies of Justice Idigbe – his experience in life, what he went through as a lesson for the nation and his contribution to jurisprudence and law in Nigeria.

“The second part of the project is the youth centre and the library. We hope to have resources for the youths in this community to have access to the internet and research opportunity and a conducive environment to study.

“Also, there’s sufficient space for seminars and other programmes to empower the youth.

Prof Poonam Puri, a professor of law at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, Canada, delivered a lecture at the dinner

“In this regard, we’re hoping to partner with the government of Delta State, particularly in training programmes. We also have other needs, such as books. It’s a work in progress.

“The third part of the project is a gazebo (garden) where people can relax for shows, just like an amphitheatre. We want it to be a creative centre.

“The last part is some accommodation for the curator or someone that will run the place, and other supporting facilities.”

Governor Obarevwori pays tribute to the late Justice Idigbe

Delta State Governor, Sheriff Obarevwori, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Kingsley Emu, paid tribute to the late Justice Idigbe and lauded the family for immortalising him.

He said: “I am happy to be part of this deserved honour being accorded to Justice Idigbe by his family and the NBA.

“It is most befitting that having traversed the legal profession and became a Justice of the Supreme Court, the legacy he left behind should be given a life of its own to serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to members of society, especially members of the NBA and the youths.

“No doubt, a museum in his honour will definitely harbour his works, especially the in-depth judgments he gave as a judge in the High Court, and as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Inauguration of the “Hon. Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe Museum and Youth Centre in Asaba

“From 1946 when he became a lawyer, he began to blaze a trail as he set up his chambers in Warri in 1947.

“Despite the interregnum caused by the civil war, he still rose to become a judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“Months to his anticipated elevation as the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court, nature intervened and he went in a blaze of unblemished glory to meet his creator.”

He promised that the state would partner with the Youth Centre in building human capital.

Prof Puri, in his lecture, highlighted the important public financing role of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, which she believes Nigeria can learn from.

READ ALSO:Niger’s Prime Minister, Zeine says country will overcome sanctions

She also stressed the need for an efficient dispute resolution mechanism to encourage investments, adding that clear and simple rules are needed.

“I believe in regulation, but over-regulation can be harmful to the economy.

“Also, when businesses need licenses, it should be easy to get. It should not take months or years to obtain a permit,” she added.

E-Library will  would boost legal practice

Speaking on the E-Library and Resource Centre donated to the NBA Asaba Branch, Managing Partner at Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, Mrs Elizabeth Idigbe, said it would boost legal practice.

She said: “Justice Idigbe stood for excellence and good education. He believed in doing things right.
“The e-Library will encourage lawyers to do things right. The enhanced research will enable them to do their cases powerfully and properly before the courts.

“We’ve had issues about inadequate knowledge. Judges and lawyers complain.

“So, we believe the e-Library and Resource Centre will help address that.

“We also believe it’s another good way to honour a man who represented the very best of the legal profession.”

A professor of law at the University of Benin, UNIBEN, Emeka Chianu, said Justice Idigbe transformed commercial jurisprudence.

“Justice Idigbe was never in the class of such slothful, shiftless, shallow thinkers.

“In his search for justice, he dug deep into judgments from other common law jurisdictions. And he was a Justice of his own convictions.

“That is why his torchlight continues to brighten the path of the legal profession – in classrooms, in law libraries, at the bar, and on the bench.”

He urged Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors to put Justice Idigbe’s judgments in a compendium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: