Enter My Lord, Justice Donghan-Mensem as Appeal Court President

Enter My Lord, Justice Donghan-Mensem as Appeal Court President

Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem, 63 has been confirmed by the Senate as the seventh President of the Court of Appeal (PCA). She’ll be succeeding Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa who retired last March. President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a letter urged the Senate to approve her nomination as the PCA. A hard working and committed Jurist with

Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem, 63 has been confirmed by the Senate as the seventh President of the Court of Appeal (PCA). She’ll be succeeding Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa who retired last March. President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a letter urged the Senate to approve her nomination as the PCA.

A hard working and committed Jurist with compassion for quality education of the less privileged, she was confirmed after a report of the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters headed by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele which said no petition was received against her nomination.

“The nominee is a fit and proper person for appointment as the President of the Court of Appeal. The Committee recommends that the Senate do confirm the nomination of Hon. Justice M.B. Dongban-Mensem as Honourable President of the Court of Appeal,” he was quoted as saying on the Senate’s Twitter handle.

Senator Ike Ekweramdu congratulated the nominee, saying women are making progress in the scheme of things. “This is because Justice Mendem is succeeding a woman who served and retired in the same capacity,” he said.

A former Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Enugu and Jos Divisions and Life Member of Body of Benchers, responsible for the training and discipline of all lawyers in Nigeria, Justice Dongban-Mensem, who was born on June 13th, 1957, is an authority in Criminal and Civil Procedure Law, Taxation and International Public Finance, Public International Law, Legislative Drafting, Constitutional and Administrative Law and International Commercial Transactions.

After receiving her LL.B and LL.M from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, Russel Square – London, Justice Dongban-Mensem was Registrar of Plateau State High Court in 1979 and Magistrate of various grades up to Chief Magistrate between 1981 and 1990. She was Visiting Lecturer on Press Law at the Catholic Media Centre, Kaduna from 1988-1992 and Part-time Lecturer at the University of Jos between 1989 and 1997.

From 1990-1993, Justice Dongban-Mensem served as Deputy Chief Registrar, Superior Courts and Protocol Affairs and was appointed Judge, High Court of Justice, Plateau Judiciary from 1993-1996. On transfer from Plateau State, she became the Judge, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Judiciary from 1997-2003.

Apart from being on several panels of investigation in the Plateau State Judiciary, she has performed numerous ad-hoc duties in the capacity of Secretary, Plateau State Law Report Committee, Secretary/Legal Adviser, Ad-hoc Committee on Widowhood Practices in Plateau State all in 1991 and a Pioneer Board Member/Legal Adviser, Plateau State Commission for Women from 1991-1992 among several others.

She was also an Advisory Committee Member for FCT Judiciary on the National Centre for State Courts International Programs Division from 2001-2002 and was Acting Presiding Justice of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal between November and December 2009.

Justice Dongban-Mensem is one of the hardest working Nigeria judicial officers. As at 3rd May, 2010, she had a record of 29 Lead Judgments and 47 Contributory Judgments published and numerous ones unpublished. She has always led notable Jurists to decide high profile and very interesting cases. These cover electoral, commercial, civil and criminal matters on appeal from the lower courts and court marshal decisions.

Justice Dongban-Mensem, despite the unending demands of huge office work, launched herself into the publishing hall of fame with the book she entitled “The Defendant” in 1991. This book addresses the rights of the accused person and is an informative and resource material for lawyers and lay persons alike.

She has also presented thought provoking papers at different fora on numerous subjects like: Legal Implications of some Widowhood Practices in Nigeria; Right of Women and Children under the Nigerian Law; the Responsibilities of Judges, Lawyers and the Youths under the Nigerian Constitutions; the Role of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in the Participation of Women in Politics, among others.

Justice Dongban-Mensem’s impressive blend of intellectual and professional experience stems from coming from a family that values education and career excellence.  Hence she became a strong and passionate advocate for qualitative education especially for the less privileged. Having faced the challenge of going through school with limited resources, she strongly believes that the provision of scholarship to indigent but promising children would substantially enhance their dream of a fulfilled future.

She worked hard to make a modest but invaluable contribution to this by establishing the Pa William Mensem Education and Scholarship Foundation (PAWMESFO) in May 2009 which built a school, named after her father, Pa William Mensem at Ngotuguut, in Plateau State.

Pa William Mensem Memorial School as it is now known, elicited so much enthusiasm in not only the people of Ngotuguut but the neighbouring villages and indeed, the whole of Plateau State. While parents are eager to send their children to the school, the children on their own are zealous to enrol in what they commonly call “Monica’s School”.

Justice Dongban-Mensem loves writing, reading and golfing. She also delights in working with children, women and the elderly. She has strong religious beliefs and particularly dreams of a world where women and children are not seen as second-class citizens but rather treated with love and respect.

Her achievements have challenged other professionals and politicians whom she has apparently given a shove in the right direction. For dedicating her life to the downtrodden and serving as a beacon of hope for women and children, many describe Dongban-Mensem as the very essence of compassion and duty as well as the acme of love and generosity.

After her first son, Samson Kwapda’as Dongban, died in a road accident, she founded Kwapda’as Road Safety Demand (KRSD), a road safety organisation. Dongban-Mensem who now spends part of her time controlling traffic, told the BBC that many drivers in Nigeria do not understand the rules. Apart from ensuring free flow of vehicles in the nation’s capital, she also visits motor parks to educate drivers. She does this voluntarily. Justice Dongban-Mensem is a mother of four children and two grand childre

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