NBA MOURNS PASSING OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, CENTUS CHIMA NWEZE
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, 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.
Justice Nweze died after a brief illness at the age of 64.
With Justice Nweze’s exit, the South East is presently without a single Justice at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Justice Nweze, a native of Obollo, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, was born on September 25, 1958. A practising Christian of the Roman Catholic Denomination, he is married to Hon Justice Ugonne Jacinta Nweze of the Enugu State Judiciary. Their union is blessed with five children and a grandchild.
Meanwhile, the NBA President described Hon. Justice Nweze an astute and erudite jurist, while numerous decisions had shaped, impacted and developed the country’s law and jurisprudence.
“He was a disciplined, hardworking, and courageous judicial officer,” Maikyau said.
The late jurist attended St John Cross Seminary, Nsukka, from 1972 -1977, emerging with a Distinction in the West African School Certificate Examination, [WASCE]. Between 1979 – 1983, he was an undergraduate student at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. In 1983, he represented the Faculty of Law, and indeed, all Nigerian Law Faculties, at the Phillip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC, as the Chief Oralist. Upon his graduation in 1983, [LL. B. (Hons) (Nig.)], he proceeded to the Nigeria Law School, from 1983 – 1984, where he obtained the qualifying Certificate, [BL]. He did his NYSC between 1984 – 1985 in Bauchi.
Subsequently, he returned to the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, between 1993 – 1995, where he studied for, and obtained, the Master of Laws Certificate, [LL. M]. Between 1997 – 2001, he studied for, and achieved, the Doctorate Degree [Ph. D.] of the same university, the University of Nigeria.
Having practised at the private Bar from 1985 – 1995, he was elevated to the High Court Bench of Enugu State in November, 1995.
While on the High Court Bench, he served as Chairman, Second Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, Enugu State, 1996 -1998; Chairman, Robbery and Firearms Tribunal, Nsukka, 1998 -1999; Member, Ondo State Local Government Election Petition Tribunal, 1999; Chairman, Ogun State Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal, 1999; Administrative Judge, Nsukka Judicial Division, Enugu State, 2001.
He was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, February 15, 2008; and served thereat until October, 2014, when he was, finally, elevated to Nigeria’s apex court as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, October 29, 2014.
He had been on the Bench of the Supreme Court from October, 2014 till his demise.
A former Convenor/Co-coordinator, LL. M (International Human Rights Programme), and Visiting Human Rights Scholar, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, 2000 -2008; Justice Nweze, who was a Distinguished Scholar, Pro Bono, Faculty of Law, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT, Enugu, was formerly, a Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, Ebonyi State University and Member, International Advisory Board, Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law (Golden Gate University School of Law, San Francisco, USA).
Hon Justice Chima Centus Nweze had served in various capacities in extra-judicial vocational activities. These include: Member, DFID Access to Justice Programme, Enugu State, 2003; Member, National Working Group on the Reform of Criminal Justice Administration, 2004 [the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, is the brainchild of this group]; Team Member, Enugu State Sector Strategic Plan, 2004; PATHS-DFID Hon Consultant, District Health System Law/Regulations, 2004; Member, OSIWARD C Expert Consultative Forum on Federal Budget Act and Facilitator, Enugu State Justice Sector Reform Team