FLORENCE DUROHA-IGWE; AN ANGEL OF JUSTICE BOWS OUT

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Unarguably, the Imo State Judiciary will be at a losing end, though with joy and happiness as a jewel in the legal profession and Honourable Justice of the High Court, takes a bow.

On the 21st day of May 2018, a Special Valedictory High Court Session at the Imo State High Court premises Orlu Road Owerri would be held in honour of Hon. Justice Florence Ikwuoma Duroha-Igwe, who is formally pulling out of service from the Imo State Judiciary after attaining the mandatory age of retirement.

According a report on the elegant jurist, Barr Emperor Iwuala, this erudite jurist was born into the family of late Chief Isaac and Lolo Comfort Emelike of Umuanya, Obayi, Ovim in Isuikwuato L.G.A of Abia State on May 20th 1953. She had her primary school education in Methodist Primary School, Ogui Enugu. Her exceptional academic brilliance later saw her attend the prestigious Anglican Girls Ogidi in Anambra State. In 1976, Young Florence proceeded to the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus where she studied law. On graduation, she attended the Nigerian Law School which saw her being called to the Nigerian Bar in 1977. Subsequently, this urbane workaholic proceeded to Kaduna for her National Youth Service programme where she prosecuted cases for the Nigerian Police in that state. At the end, she briefly served as a Senior Administrative Officer in the Nigeria Television Authority Zone C Headquarters, Enugu before joining the Legislative Drafting Unit of the Imo State House of Assembly in 1980 a legal draftsman. While in the Imo State legislature, Justice Ikwuoma Duroha-Igwe also taught business Law in the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede as a part-time lecturer. However, in December, 1981, she was made a magistrate in the Imo State Judiciary where she later rose to the rank of Chief Register of Customary Court of Appeal. In the year 1998, this ideal woman of great excellence and ambiance was appointed a High Court Judge of Imo State and later became the Administrative Judge of High Court Owerri; a position today, she is retiring from.

Giving further insight into the life of Duruoha-Igwe, Iwuala said “With her strict parental upbringing, the ever radiant-looking Amazon distinguished herself in the legal profession. There is good attestation from many who have come in contact with her that this learned icon who is a combination of beauty and brilliance has exceptional humble disposition in all things, always clothed with milk of human kindness, very hardworking and above all, related well with all manner of persons. Many at times she would deny herself all the pleasures of life spending sleepless nights and time to discharge her duties efficiently. Her dexterity, maturity, experience, doggedness, exceptional courage and Godly dispositions always reflected in her unbiased judgments in court. Indeed her fair, fearless, just and well considered judgments have gone a long way to fight executive lawlessness, impunity, injustice, tyranny and have solved many societal problems which invariably brought societal happiness. It was because of the above qualities that members of the Nigeria Bar Association saw and desperately fought to make sure that she was appointed a judge.

“However, not minding the various challenges and life-threatening encounters in her service in the state, My Lord fondly called the ‘Angel of Justice’ by many successfully pulled through and emerged an epitome of what an ideal jurist should be.

“As an ardent moralist with good Christian background, this quintessential virtuous woman has received several honours and titles in her service to God and humanity and she broke the jinx of becoming the first female Lay president of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, South East.

“His Lordship is blessed with three lovely and promising career children who have distinguished themselves in petroleum engineering, Information Communication Technology and legal profession respectively.

“However, there is an end to everything in life! Interestingly, as a woman who is ahead of her time, His Lordship’s retirement at this period is also coinciding with the celebration of her 65 years birth anniversary. This is a perfect delight and a story divine”, Iwuala added

In conclusion, the Owerri legal professional with enormous background in media practice has this to say about the retiring jurist “Regrettably, as my Lord Hon Justice Florence Ikwuoma Duroha-Igwe lays down the judiciary gavel, the vacuum which the exit of this angel of justice will create in the Imo State Judiciary (especially at a time democracy and human rights are facing a lot of challenges in the state) will be heavily felt. But our consolation is that our generation is already calling her blessed

“Surely, in line with our country’s national anthem: My Lord has duly and meritoriously served with might, love, strength and faith; and her labours shall never be in vain. And it is our prayer that God-Almighty will give this ebullient heroine and mother-in-a-million good health, long life and the strength to continue to blossom in her future endeavours. Amen”, he added