NIGERIANS have reacted to the death of Appeal Court judge Shagbaor Ikyegh.
Ikyegh died on Wednesday, December 6, in his hometown of Makurdi, Benue state.
He was aged 65.
Before his passing, he presided over the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Ikyegh was one of the 22 justices initially shortlisted by the National Judicial Council (NJC) to the Supreme Court.
However, his name was not among the final list of 11 justices recommended by the NJC for appointment to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, December 6.
One of his last major assignments was on November 24, when he delivered the majority decision that affirmed Dapo Abiodun’s victory as Ogun state governor in the March 18 election.
Ikyegh presided over the panel that upheld the ruling of the governorship tribunal, based its decision on technical grounds.
Abiodun’s major opponent in the election, Ladi Adebutu, has appealed the case at the Supreme Court.
Among Nigerians mourning the judge’s death is the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
In a statement on Thursday, December 7, the branch chairman of the group in Benue state, Maimuna Ikwulono, said the state executive received the judge’s passing with shock and sadness.
“This is a huge loss to the Benue bar as a whole, particularly at a time we had hoped that he would be the face of Benue on the apex bench, a position he eminently qualifies for.
We pray for God’s comfort for his immediate and extended families as well as the bench and the bar,” the group said.
Other Nigerians react
Reacting to the death, a former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Odinkalu, described it as “sad and tragic”.
Also reacting, an X user @barnofwisdom reminded judges that no one lives forever.
“Appeal Court Judge, Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh, RIP. Our judges should remember that no one lives forever when delivering judgement,” he posted.
An X user, @IkeGod_, said the late judge Ikyegh was accused by opposition politicians in Ogun State of allegedly collecting a bribe from the governor Dapo Abiodun to rule in his favour as the re-elected governor of Ogun State, another X user, @HonMichaelson, described Ikyegh as a disciplined judge.
“I learnt he was a no-nonsense man. Numerous sources who knew him attested to his straightforwardness and firm stance against all compromise. His family and the entire Tiv race will miss him dearly,” he stated.
“Hon. Justice Joseph Shagbaor Ikyegh??? Oh no I liked him,” @Oluwanonso_Esq tweeted.
Until his death, the late judge was the president of the Port Harcourt Division until he suddenly slumped before his family members and was pronounced dead.
The late judge was admitted to the Nigerian bar in 1980 after obtaining his Bachelor of Law degree from Obafemi Awolowo University (previously the University of Ife),
His career started in 1991 in the Benue State High Court, and in July 2010, he was promoted to the Court of Appeals.