By Chinwendu Nnamani
The Enugu State Judiciary, on Monday, September 28, 2020, gathered in their number at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Ogui Enugu, to celebrate a Special Mass marking the Opening of the 2020/2021Legal year. The Mass which was presided over by the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. C. V. C. Onaga who was represented by the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Ernest AnezichukwuObodo.
In his Homily, Bishop Obodo spoke on the topic: Lead me Lord in your justice taken from the Psalm of the day.
“The lord was so hard on lawyers and judges in today’s reading as the justice system of the time was working only to benefit the rich in the society while neglecting the need of the common man among them.”
Relating the happening in the first reading to the happenings in the justice system in Nigeria down to the state, the Bishop said that, “a lot of blood is being shed in this country and it’s very necessary to talk to those who are meant to save these innocent lives and keep it from wasting.”
“Of the four cardinal virtues, which are justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance, justice stands out as it comprises of divine- human and human- human relationship and once justice is well applied, the society is in order,“ he said
He went on to say that Justice is on the lips of everyone but often misunderstood as many philosophers in time past hold different views as to what justice really means. A situation where all the spheres of the society are willing to perform their respective duties, “when every arm of the government is doing its work perfectly, then there is justice in the society.”
According to the Bishop, the situation in the country is as it is today because most of the leaders in the country are not vast in knowledge and therefore, do not know what the justice system and other aspect of the government is meant to be doing. “Just as pluto, the ancient philosopher said, that there can never be justice in the society until kings becomes philosophers or philosophers become king.”
He told the lawyers that the lord expects them to punish offenders and also correct them. “my dear judges and Lawyers, know that behind every raised arm of the law lies a person that needs to be saved, the law is meant to save the sinner, the poor, and not meant to kill and oppress the people, remember to always apply justice and mercy especially when dealing with the poor as it seems justice is meant only for the rich as its too costly for the poor to afford especially in Nigeria, know that human justice should reflect diving justice.
Bishop Obodo went on to say that “The greatest judicial tragedy in Nigeria is that many people are not being punished for the offences they commit, citing boko haram and fulani herdsmen as an example.
He expressed his happiness for the change of the prison system In Nigeria to correctional facility that sees that offenders are punished to be corrected and not to be killed.
“In the face of the quagmire state of the country, the poor man looks to the judiciary, as it is the last hope of the common man, we know that it is a herculean task to be just in an unjust society, whenever anyone is offended, the judiciary is always the last hope of the common man.”
“When the common man comes to the court expecting justice, let him not be disappointed,” the Bishop advised.
He expressed his sadness on the state of the country’s judiciary as “it is being muscled by the people in power,” taking away the power of the judiciary.
“Remember that justice for one is justice for all as the problem of one man today may become the problem of the other tomorrow.”
He asked that the judiciary stands up to their duties because they are the last hope of the common man. He concluded that “If the common man comes to you crying and cannot say that this is why the truth lies, then there is problem.”
In her vote of thanks after the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice P. N. Emehelu, thanked the Auxiliary Bishop for his words of exhortation and promised that the justice system in the state will hold on to the messages contained in the Homily they have received.
Other clergymen who were also in attendance includes, the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev, Dr. Godfrey IgwebuikeOnah, represented by Very Rev Msgr. Emmanuel Ugwu, the Methodist Arch Bishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Very Rev. Barr. Christopher Nweke Ede, the Anglican Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Aloysius E. Agbo, the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev Dr. E. O. Chukwuma, represented by Rev. Barr. Joshua Eze, the Cathedral administrator, Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Ozonwafor, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Egweshi and other notable clergymen.
The Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Rt. Hon.IfeanyiUgwuanyi was represented by the state deputy governor, Barr. Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, the speaker of Enugu State house of Assemply, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Enugu State, Hon. Justice G. C. Nnamani, the Attorney General and Commisioner for Justice, Enugu State, Chief Miletus EzugworieEze, the Cahirman, Enugu state Council of Traditional rulers, IgweAmb. Lawrence Agubuzu and a host of other dignitaries were also in attendance.