Customary Courts

The President of the Customary Court of Appeal (CCA) of the Federal Capital Territory, Justice Moses Abubakar Bello, has retired as the head of the court after 25 years in office.

The outgoing president of the court, who retired after attaining the mandatory retirement age for judicial officers, also used the special valedictory court session in his honour on Thursday to launch the court’s maiden Law Report.

Presenting the Law Report, the FCT Chief Judge, Justice Ishaq Bello, said the essence of the report is to document decisions of the court reached through the interpretation of customary laws.

He said the Law Report was a testimony of the customary beliefs and practices, which he noted were documented in the report. He added that the report contained the court’s decisions on customary marriage, its jurisdiction, customs and other sundry issues.

The FCT CJ had earlier, in his speech commended the retiring president of the CCA for his contribution to the development of customary laws and the judiciary in general. He said his sterling example and leadership quality which stood as his legacies would be built upon by judges of the court.

Also speaking, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), described Justice Moses Bello as a respected and distinguished jurist, who had contributed immensely to the development of customary laws in Nigeria.

The AGF said the life of Justice Bello is an inspiration to the legal practitioners and the judiciary, adding also that the retiring President of the Customary Court of Appeal is a “rare jurist of substance and calibre, recognised by the judiciary and the nation.”

In his speech, Justice Moses Bello, who was appointed as the pioneer president of the Customary Court of Appeal, FCT Judiciary in 1992, said the highest point in his judicial career was “the passage into law by the National Assembly of the Customary Court of Appeal of the FCT, Abuja (Jurisdiction on Chieftaincy matters) Act, 2011, which conferred on the FCT-CCA, original jurisdiction to hear and determine chieftaincy matters in the FCT to the exclusion of any other court.”

“I am pleased to state that we now have 44 functional Customary Courts spread across the FCT with state-of -the-art court room facilities,” he added.

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