The Supreme Court of Nigeria (SCN) is the highest court in Nigeria. It was founded on October 1, 1963, and is located in the Central District, Abuja, the court is known as the Three Arms Zone, so called due to the proximity of the offices of the Presidential Complex, the National Assembly, and the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in any dispute between the Federation and a state or between states and also has appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from the Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Nigeria consists of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and a few numbers of the Justices of the Supreme Court, not exceeding twenty-one. Presently the Supreme Court is made up of the Chief Justice and Sixteen.
There are only two from the Southeast outlined.
Justice Mary Ukaego Odili
Mary Ukaego Odili is a Nigerian judge born on the 12th May 1952, in Amudi Obizi, Ezinihitte-Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.
Growing up Mary wasn’t able to complete her primary and secondary education in a particular school due to her parents’ relocation from the Imo State to the Lagos State and also due to the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war.
In 1972, after she passed her West African School Certificate Examination with Grade 1, she gained admission into the University of Nigeria to study Law, where she graduated in 1976 with an LLB (Hons) and was rated the best student of the department of commercial and property law. Thereafter she attended the Nigerian Law School and received her B.L. certificate in 1977.
Mary Ukaego commenced her career in the judiciary as a Magistrate Grade III in November 1978. Ukaego has served as Chief Magistrate Grade I and High Court Judge of Rivers State.
Before she was appointed to the Supreme Court, she held the offices of Justice, Court of Appeal, Abuja Division and Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal Kaduna Division.
In 2011, she was nominated by the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan along with two other Appeal Court Justices to the Supreme Court. Come 23rd June that year, Ukaego has appointed an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria to represent the southeast geo-political zone in the apex court bench.
In October 2021, DSS raided her home, a move that sparked outrage among many circles in the country.
Mary Ukaego is married to Peter Odili the then Governor of Rivers State, they both met during her studies at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, and in 1979 they got married and moved to Port Harcourt city where her husband founded his medical centre Pamo Clinics.
Peter Odili gained interest in politics and served as member and leader of Rivers State Delegates to the Constituent Assembly before he was elected the Governor of Rivers State from 1999 to 2007, making Mary Ukaego the first lady of the State.
Hon. Mr Chima Centus Nweze
The second Justice from the Southeast currently in the house has to be Hon. Me Chima Centus Nweze. Chima Centus Nweze born on September 25, 1958, is from Obollo, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
After Chima Centus completed his primary school and emerged with a Distinction in the West African School Certificate Examination, he went on to appeal for admission into the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1779 where he studied Law and upon his graduation in 1983, he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School where he obtained the qualifying Certificate.
In 1993, he returned to the University to obtain a Master of Laws Certificate and a Doctorate Degree (Ph.D.) in 2001.
Hon. Chima started his practice at the private Bar in 1985, thereafter, he was elevated to the High Court Bench of Enugu State in November 1995. While on the High Court Bench, he served as Chairman, Second Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, Enugu State, from 1996 to1998.
In 2001 he was appointed the Administrative Judge, Nsukka Judicial Division, Enugu State, and served as the Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria Enugu State from 2008 to 2014.
He was sworn into Nigeria’s apex court as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in October 2014 by the former Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar.
With just these two currently in the Supreme Court, we are expecting the number to increase in the coming years.
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