Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike led prominent leaders of the State to attend the Special Thanksgiving Mass organized in honour of the President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem.
The service that was also used to celebrate her first year anniversary in office, held at the St. Monica Catholic Church in Rantya Low Cost Housing Estate, Jos Town in Plateau State of Nigeria.
Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to the Rivers State Governor, reports that Governors present at the event are: Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi ( Ekiti), Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (Rivers), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Simon Lalong (Plateau) and Deputy Governor of Nasarawa state, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe. The governors of Benue , Ondo and Bauchi sent representatives.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen stated that everything is being done to solve issues of insecurity in the country.
However, President Buhari noted that the task cannot be done by him alone, said all men and women of goodwill must contribute their quota to solve the challenges facing the country.
He expressed optimism that with concerted efforts and prayers peace will be restored in the entire country.
“There is no part of Nigeria that is not in this church today.
Mr. President sends his appreciation as we all gather to thank God for the life of Justice Dongban-Mensem, and to pray for Nigeria in this most trying period.
“Mr. President is very delighted that you have all taken time to come and honour this great daughter of Plateau, and to assure you that he’s doing everything possible to address the problem of insecurity. But, he said he cannot do it alone. He’s calling on all the clergy, men and women of goodwill to stand by us at this most trying period.”
In his speech, Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said governors believe that the best only should be provided for the country’s judiciary.
That is why, he stated, they have become the best campaigners for a better remuneration for Nigeria’s judges because they hold them and judiciary workers in high esteem.
Governor Fayemi described Justice Dongban-Mensem as a woman of substance, character and integrity who has demonstrated sense of value, morality and principles in all of her judicial dealing.
According to him, Nigeria’s Governors will do nothing less than to continue to respect and support not only her, but all judges because they also constitute a critical arm of government.
“Our presence is a statement of how much reverence we give to the celebrant and the good people of Plateau state. Contrary to what you might have been led to believe in the past few months of JUSUN strike that governors don’t like judges, it’s not true.
“As a matter of fact, we hold our judges on high esteem. We are even the ones campaigning, particularly for judges to be better remunerated than what they currently have.”
Chairman Northern Governors’ Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, said Justice Dongban-Mensem made history by being the first indigene of his State to head the Court of Appeal.
He also commended Governor Wike, Governor Fayemi, and Governor Seyi Makinde and other dignitaries who graced the occasion.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Rt. Reverend Hilary Dachelem said Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem is today being celebrated as the second female to have become the President of Nigeria’s Court Appeal because of the grace of God that she has enjoyed.
Bishop Dachelem said the gathering of Nigerians from all the geopolitical zones to honour Justice Dongban-Mensem exemplifies the kind of love that must be encouraged among Nigerians irrespective of religion and tribe.
He decried the harm that has been caused by hate speech, insecurity and unemployment among the youths.
He asserted that Nigeria’s challenges can be surmounted if all leaders and followers can sincerely sit and talk together over the problems ,with a view of finding tenable solutions to the dissatisfaction that has agitated many hearts.
Bishop Dachelem also urged the government at all levels to adopt strategic listening skills that will enrich mutually accepted process of dialogue that should address the pains and distrust expressed by Nigerians in order to reestablish friendship and love among them.
“We, all of us here needs to be vanguards of peace and dialogue. All of us are supposed to be vanguards of unity.
“Leadership and followership must sit down and reason. Why is it not possible again to travel and feel free. Nigeria was like that when we were all friends. Government must listen; strategic listening.
“When we hear agitations coming from the West, North and East, all we need to do is to sit down. So, we can’t afford to pay deaf ears to the cries of the people.”
On her part, Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem who ascribed her success in the legal profession to God’s benevolence said she was waiting for an appropriate time to organise a thanksgiving not knowing that the delay will eventually coincide when she clocks one year as President of the Court of Appeal.
On the delegation of Governor Wike were the former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Austin Opara, former Minister of Transportation, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, Senator Lee Maeba, Okey Wali (SAN), Frank Owhor and Onueze. C. J. Okocha (SAN).