A cross-session of judges at the valedictory session for the late Ocholi...yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Fayese

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, Justice Babatunde Adejumo and other top members of the country’s judiciary on Wednesday, paid glowing tributes to the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Chief James Ocholi (SAN).

The eminent jurists who converged on the Headquarters of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, in Abuja, at a special valedictory session in honour of late Ocholi, praised the deceased minister for his exemplary integrity and hard work.

“Ocholi was such an icon; from a humble beginning, he grew and became a colossus in the legal profession and Nigeria,’ Justice Mahmud said.

For Justice Adejumo, Ocholi’s brilliance and hard work to the advancement of law and legal jurisprudence earned him the prestigious rank of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 2007, saying that, “It is the more tragic and painful that this horrendous occurrence did not spare the lives of our colleague’s wife and second son.

“Those who should know, including our President, have attested to the brilliance, passion and enthusiasm which he served this great country.

“As a legal practitioner, he traversed all the courts in Nigeria. James Ocholi was a thorough-bred professional and advocate. He was a quintessential minister in the temple of justice as he personified the best tradition of the legal profession,” Justice Adejumo said.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) who was represented by the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Mr.Taiwo Abidogun described the deceased Labour Minister as a “community leader, philanthropist and icon of the legal profession in the country.

“Despite our individual and collective loss, we are consoled by his enduring legacies of hard work and excellence which defined his life. He will be sorely missed at the Federal Executive Council for a long time to come,” Malami submitted.

On his part, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), bemoaned the tragic demise of Ocholi, his wife and son.

The NBA boss commended the deceased minister for conquering the existential barriers that fate threw at him following the death of his father while at High School.

“Ocholi was a lawyer of high repute who committed his life to the cause of justice for the downtrodden. He showed immense integrity and hard work in every endeavour he participated. We will sorely miss him,” Alegeh lamented.

Speaking in a similar vein, the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (Abuja Branch), showered praises on Ocholi for bringing honour to the legal profession.

The body who was represented by Chief Adegboye Awomolo (SAN), described Ocholi as a lawyer who distinguished himself within and outside the Bar.

“Ocholi earned his SAN rank by dint of hard work. He was a legal luminary who served his people,” Awomolo observed.

In his speech, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba who said late Ocholi left a footprints in the sands of time, added that the late minister was one of Nigeria’s brightest and finest minds who was cut down alongside his family members when his star was in ascendancy.

“Indeed, his knowledge of labour laws, industrial relations practice and his eagerness to work with social partners in the labour circuit raised our expectations”. The NLC boss stated.

It would be recalled that Ocholi, his wife and son died in a ghastly motor accident along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway on March 6, 2016.

The valedictory court session kick started a series of activities lined up for his final interment this weekend at Idah in Kogi State.

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