The Supreme Court of Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) President Yakubu Maikyau SAN; the immediate past Chairman of the Council of Legal Education, Chief Emeka Ngige SAN; the Chairman of NBA Annual General Conference Planning Committee, Mazi Afam Osigwe; leading human rights advocate, Mr. Chino Obiagwu SAN, and the Nigerian Law School Class of 1984 are among the early mourners to issue statements on the demise of eminent Supreme Court jurist, Justice Centus Nweze.
In a statement obtained by CITY LAWYER and signed by the court’s Director of Press and Information, Festus Akande, the apex court described Justice Nweze as “a formidable ally of his brother Justices, an admirable pillar of support to the staff and management of the Supreme Court; and indeed, a dependable father-figure to all.”
In a statement made available to CITY LAWYER, Maikyau described as “an astute and erudite jurist,” adding that “His lordship’s numerous decisions have shaped, impacted and developed our law and jurisprudence. He was a disciplined, hardworking, and courageous judicial officer.”
In another statement also made available to CITY LAWYER, Ngige noted that Nweze’s demise “has left many of us who knew both jurists closely, completely devastated and heartbroken,” adding that “The authorities should start looking seriously into the condition of service of our judicial officers particularly those at the apex court where the justices are working under serious stressful conditions that impact negatively on their health.”
Osigwe noted that “Justice Nweze was known for his compassion, humility, and unwavering commitment to serving society. He was a beacon of hope for those seeking justice and a voice for the marginalized and oppressed.”
On his part, Obiagwu wrote in a statement made available to CITY LAWYER: “Yesterday, I lost a friend & inspirator, a jurist per excellence, an activist judge, one of the best on the Nigerian bench. Hon Justice Dr. C. C. Nweze, Justice of the Supreme Court. Rest in the bossom of the Lord in eternity.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Law School Class of 1984, Mr. Femi Alabi confirmed the passing of the jurist, adding: “As it is customary, we will be observing the initial 3 day mourning period from Monday 31st July through to Wednesday 2nd August.”
Below are the statements.
SUPREME COURT MOURNS
“It is with heart full of grief that we announce the sudden death of our amiable brother and colleague, Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze, JSC, on Saturday, July 29, 2023, after a brief illness.
“Justice Nweze was born in Obollo, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, on September 25, 1958.
”He had his LLB (Hons), LLM and PhD in Law at the prestigious University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus in 1983, 1995 and 2001, respectively.
“He was also a recipient of LL.D. Degree; and was an Associate Professor of Law at Ebonyi State University and a Visiting Professor of Law, Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
“His Lordship was a Judge of the High Court of Justice, Enugu State, from 1995 to 2007; Justice of the Court of Appeal from 2008 to 2014; and was elevated to the Supreme Court Bench on 29 October, 2014, where he served until his death.
“Hon. Justice Chima Nweze gave a sterling account of himself in the discharge of his official duties at the Supreme Court.
“He had largely made himself a pliable legal personality that had diligently sunk a pool of enduring legal knowledge and experience in all his judicial pronouncements.
“He had been a formidable ally of his brother Justices, an admirable pillar of support to the staff and management of the Supreme Court; and indeed, a dependable father-figure to all.
“It will be an understatement to say we are all going to miss him dearly. Funeral arrangements would be announced by the family in due course.”
NBA PRESIDENT MOURNS THE PASSING OF HON JUSTICE CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE, JSC
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN has received with shock and dismay the news of the passing of Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze, Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which sad event occurred on Sunday, 30 July, 2023.
Hon. Justice Nweze was an astute and erudite jurist. His lordship’s numerous decisions have shaped, impacted and developed our law and jurisprudence. He was a disciplined, hardworking, and courageous judicial officer.
The NBA President condoles with the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Kayode Ariwoola, GCON, the entire Nigerian Judiciary, the Government and People of Enugu State, friends and family of Hon. Justice Nweze over the demise of his lordship and prays that the Almighty God comforts his lordship’s family and friends.
Akorede Habeeb Lawal
National Publicity Secretary
HON JUSTICE CENTUS CHIMA NWEZE: AN IROKO TREE HAS INDEED FALLEN
I received the news of the death of His Lordship, Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze, Justice of the Supreme Court, with great shock and sadness.
I am aware that His Lordship had been ill for the past few months, but didn’t realize that the illness was of a serious nature that would claim his life .
His death, coming barely a month after the passing on of his kinsman and brother, Hon. Justice R. C. Agbo, has left many of us who knew both jurists closely, completely devastated and heartbroken.
Hon. Justice Nweze was a year my senior at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC). He was of 1983 set while I belonged to the 1984 set. We resided at the same Mazi Mbonu Ojike (GH) Hall. He was in Room G202 while I was in the next room, G204. CC, as he was fondly called, was a hardworking and industrious student. With his seminary background, CC mesmerized some of us who engaged in arguments with him with Latin phrases and idioms . He was a wordsmith extraordinaire, and I was therefore not surprised when he was appointed a judge of the Enugu State High Court in 1995, two years after another mutual friend, Justice Innocent Umezulike (former Chief Judge of Enugu State and now of blessed memory) was appointed to the Enugu State High Court bench.
On account of his industry and deep intellectual capacity, CC was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2008 and from there to the Supreme Court in 2014.
In both courts, CC proved himself as a force to be reckoned with, moreso with his insightful, incisive and erudite judgments. CC was an admirer and follower of Niki Tobi JSC (now of blessed memory), and this reflected in his style of writing judgments. Reading his judgments was an opportunity to learn new words and phrases. You must have a dictionary beside you as you read through. He was indeed a wordsmith extraordinaire! His death is a colossal loss to the Nigerian Judiciary, the people of the South East Zone, Enugu State and the Catholic Church. CC Nweze JSC will be sorely missed.
My heart and prayers go to his dear wife, Hon. Justice Ugonne Jacinta Nweze of Enugu State Judiciary and the entire Nweze family of Obollo Afor, Udenu LGA. His death has left South East without any representation at the Apex Court. It started with the death of Hon. Justice Nwali Syĺvester Ngwuta in March 2021, followed by the retirement of Mary Peter-Odili JSC in May 2022 and now the demise of His Lordship CC Nweze, JSC. Earlier in 2021, another of our UNEC alumni, Oseji JSC also passed on after a brief illness.
The authorities should start looking seriously into the condition of service of our judicial officers particularly those at the apex court where the justices are working under serious stressful conditions that impact negatively on their health. A situation where the apex court is currently manned by about 12 justices out of the constitutionally provided 21 justices is a matter of grave concern. The appointing authorities should hasten up the process of filling the vacancies to reduce the workload on their lordships. There is no doubt that the work overload is seriously affecting the health of the justices .
Once again, I offer my deep condolences to the bereaved family and to Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria on the death of this legal colossus, Hon. Justice Centus Chima Nweze. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.
Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, OFR
Immediate Past Chairman, Council of Legal Education
MAZI AFAM OSIGWE, SAN, MOURNS THE DEATH OF JUSTICE CHIMA CENTUS NWEZE OF THE SUPREME COURT
I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Justice Chima Centus Nweze of the Supreme Court, which occurred on Sunday, 30th of July, 2023. Justice Nweze was a distinguished and respected member of the legal fraternity, and his untimely demise is an immense loss for the entire nation.
Throughout his illustrious career, Justice Nweze exemplified the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and judicial wisdom. His profound knowledge, unwavering dedication, and remarkable contributions to the field of law have left an indelible mark on our legal system. His commitment to justice, fairness, and upholding the rule of law was commendable and admired by many.
Beyond his legal expertise, Justice Nweze was known for his compassion, humility, and unwavering commitment to serving society. He was a beacon of hope for those seeking justice and a voice for the marginalized and oppressed.
During this time of profound grief, I offer my sincerest sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues, and all those whose lives he touched. May you find solace and strength in the cherished memories you shared with Justice Nweze. May his soul find eternal peace, and may his legacy continue to inspire and guide us in our pursuit of justice.
It with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Justice CC Nweze, JSC.
Please let’s remember his family in our thoughts and prayers at this sad and difficult times.
As it is customary, we will be observing the initial 3 day mourning period from Monday 31st July through to Wednesday 2nd August.
I will like to implore us to please be circumspect with all our posts during this period.
May Justice Nweze’s soul rest in peace and may the Lord comfort his family.
Many thanks for your cooperation.
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