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Senate gives Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem accelerated confirmation as President, Court of Appeal

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday at plenary confirmed Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem as substantive President of the Federal Court of Appeal.

Justice Dongban-Mensem was sworn-in as Acting President, Court of Appeal, on March 6, 2020, by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

The Senate had to waive some of its procedures to give the confirmation-accelerated process.

President of the Senate, Dr Ahmed Lawan, had explained that the upper legislative chamber had to make the intervention to forestall eruption of a constitutional crisis in the country, particularly in the judicial arm of government.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday requested the Senate to confirm the nomination of Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem who had been functioning as Acting President of the Appellate Court.

President Muhammadu Buhari nominated her pursuant to Section 238(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Lawan explained that, since the Senate would adjourn for two weeks from Thursday in commemoration of one-year anniversary of the Ninth Assembly, it was important to confirm the nominee before the break.

The reference to constitutional crisis was because the tenure of Dongban-Mensem as acting President of the Court of Appeal would expire in few days’ time.

He said: “We are adjourning tomorrow for two weeks, by the grace of God, to celebrate our one year anniversary. And there could easily be a constitutional crisis if we don’t carry out the exercise of confirmation before we leave tomorrow.

“This is clearly omitted in the Order Paper, and we find it necessary to consider it so that our Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters is able to do the screening today.

“Then tomorrow, we can receive and consider the report in order to ensure that we don’t leave anything as important as that undone.”

Hon Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem was born on 13th June, 1957, to the family of M.B. Douglas-Mensem, a retired Appeal Court Justice.

From Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State, she got both her LL.B and LL.M degrees from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

She was a 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.

Hon Justice Dongban-Mensem transferred her service to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Judiciary in 1997, where she served until he was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2003.

She was sworn-in as the Acting President, Court of Appeal, on March 6, 2020, by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Until this recent elevation, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem was the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Enugu Division, and Life Member of Body of Benchers.

Her leisure is writing, reading, golfing working with children, women and the elderly. The judge is a mother of four children and two grandchildren.

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