• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Moment of grief as thousands pay tribute to late High Court judge in A/Ibom

Moment of grief as thousands pay tribute to late High Court judge in A/Ibom

It was a moment of grief as thousands of sympathisers, well-wishers and family members as well as judges, lawyers and hordes of staff members gathered Friday at the multipurpose hall of the judiciary headquarters, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital to bid the departed Judge of the State High Court, Felicitas Joshua Ibanga a farewell.

As judges and lawyers in their black robes filed past the gold-plated white casket during the lying in state ceremony, the nothingness of life and the audacity of death dawned on many who had gathered to pay their last respect to the judge who had taken part in the Sokoto election petition tribunal in October 2023 even though she was not feeling strong enough.

In her tribute, Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Ekaete Fabian-Obot described the late Ibanga as an illustrious and worthy daughter of Akwa Ibom State, adding that she was gentle, soft-spoken and hardworking judge of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State.

According to the Chief Judge, the departed judge was “very strict, upright, incorruptible and an erudite jurist well-versed in the law and decorum as expected of a revered jurist.’’

The late High Court Judge began her law practice in 1992 at Olakunle Morohundiya and Co. in Ikeja, Lagos State as a solicitor and advocate. She joined F.O. Onyebueke and Co, Calabar, Cross River State between 1993 and 1995. According to her biography, she was employed in 1993 by Lex Fori partners where she worked with Assam Assam, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a legal luminary from this part of the country.

In 2001, Ibanga was said to have left private practice following her appointment as a state counsel with the Ministry of Justice, Akwa Ibom State and rose to the position of a substantive director 2014, a post she held until her appointment as a judge of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State.

She was reported to have exhibited a high sense of responsibility, good conduct and brilliance worthy of emulation throughout her career at the bar and the bench.

Born into a Catholic family but later moved to the Church of Christ as a result of her marriage; she served as the secretary/legal adviser of the board of trustees of the Church of Christ until her death.

Influenced by family values and good moral upbringing by her Christian parents, she was able to adapt to any environment she found herself in and was loved by all who came across her.

In his tribute, her husband, Joshua Ibanga described his late wife as a precious jewel adding that her death was the worst thing that has happened to him.

“It is a misfortune that one would not wish even for his worst enemy. Although death is an end of every mortal, yours is a tremendous loss to me, our children and the entire family. I often lie awake at night when the world is fast asleep to take a walk down memory lane in tears, wishing it is a bad dream. I pinch myself, feel the pain, a sad reminder that your death is real and very painful,” he said.

Other tributes poured in from individuals, and various groups.

The late High Court Judge died at the age of 57 years leaving behind her husband and four children.