GADZAMA celebrates HON. Justice Ejembi Eko JSC as he bows out of the Supreme Court

Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, OFR, MFR, SAN has congratulated Hon Justice Ejembi Eko JSC for meritorious service to the Nigerian judiciary. Chief Gadzama noted that his lordship’s erudition and contribution to the development of law in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

Little wonder there was a book presentation to honour his lordship’s service at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, celebrate his sagacity and outstanding contributions to the development of law in Nigeria. The book, titled: Hon. Justice Ejembi Eko Dissents, A Collection and Comments on his Lordship’s Dissenting Judgements at the Supreme Court of Nigeria was edited by Chief Ogwu J. Onoja, SAN, and Yeye Funmi Quadri, SAN and presented on the 25th May,2022 at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja

In celebration of Hon Justice Ejembi Eko’s stellar sagacity, erudition, literary prowess which is regaled in crisp lucidity, and substance, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama SAN has lent his golden pen amongst a host of other legal gladiators, to comment on one of his Lordship’s dissenting judgments in Re: Abimbola v. State SC.1140C/2018, also cited as (2021) 17 NWLR (Pt 1608) 399.  The Learned Silk’s comment is hereunder reproduced verbatim:

“I fondly remember the now-famous words of Benjamin Franklin when he said that “…it is better 100 guilty persons should escape than one innocent person should suffer”. This is agelong wisdom in its purest form whose importance cannot be overstated. This underlying principle is sprinkled through the lush reasoning that birthed the instant dissenting judgment. It epitomizes that as much as it may be important that a guilty person is brought to book and made to answer for his sins, whatever they may be, it is even more important that during this process, an innocent person is not inadvertently made to pay the ultimate price for a crime never committed. Such is the wisdom that has literally littered this dissenting judgement.

I have keenly noted this judgement for it dared to be different. It is a refreshing, literature on extra-judicial statements of accused persons, noting cerebrally where and when same should not be regarded as a confessional statement. The gamut of my lord’s words in the instant dissenting judgment is that the statement of the accused person raises the issue of self-defense as the lawful basis for the alleged murder of the deceased person, and such statement ought not to be regarded as confessional. The appellant’s extra-judicial statements in the instant case being exhibits P2, P5A & P58 were admitted into and formed part of the prosecution case. Therefore, in my lord’s wisdom, such extra-judicial statements should not have been erroneously thought to be confessional. The extra judicial statements raised a lawful justification for killing under the statutory defense of self-defense hence they could not be said to be confessional.
By this judgment also, my lord has further penned on the sand of time that the court cannot accredit one witness called by the prosecution and discredit another witness called by it. It is my lord’s observation that while the trial court is evaluating the totality of the prosecution’s case in order to determine whether there had been proof beyond reasonable doubt; the court cannot pick and choose which witness to believe and which not to believe among the witnesses called by the prosecution. It cannot accredit one witness and discredit the other. The court should not be seen to pick and choose what content of an extra-judicial statement it would rely on to ground its decision.
These all bear credence to the vigor, rigor, literary and legal sagacity of Honourable Justice Ejembi Eko. Indeed, such is Honourable Justice Ejembi Eko: a man of cerebral standing, noted not just for the substance in his judgments, but the flair with which they are beautifully sculptured, carving substantive justice substantially.”

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