The remains of Judge Ijeoma Uche (ret.), An eminent jurist and first judge in Abia and old Imo, rested on Saturday at their cottage in Amankalu Igbere, Bende’s local government area in Abia.
Speaking yesterday during the funeral service for the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the governor of Abia, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, represented by his deputy, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu, said the late jurist distinguished himself as judge and mother.
He praised his immense contributions to the development of the judiciary in the state, saying that Abia owed him a lot of gratitude.
Governor Bindow Jibrilla of Adamawa, who was represented at the funeral by his deputy, Mr. Martins Banbella, said that Uche’s death provoked mixed feelings of sadness and joy.
“Sadness because from now on we will miss her invaluable qualities and joy because we have the hope that we will meet her again on the day of the resurrection,” he said.
Speaking also, a representative of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Joseph Owolabi, extolled the virtues of the deceased, who died at the age of 84, saying that he dedicated his life to the service of God and humanity.
Owolabi said that Uche showed her love for Jehovah by faithfully serving him, adding that she did not lose heart, despite her old age and weak bones.
He said: “She loved Jehovah so much and worked tirelessly for him. Despite his old age and weak bones, he never gave up.
“She remained faithful and committed to the service of Jehovah and was submissive to her husband.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that frontline politicians were present at the funeral service in Abia and other parts of Nigeria.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President of the Supreme Court of the Federation, the Hon. Judge Walter Onnoghen, vice president of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, former president Goodluck Jonathan and former vice president Abubakar Atiku, sent a great tribute to the deceased.
Other prominent Nigerians who sent messages of condolence to the grieving family were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha and the Attorney General of the Federation and the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.
NAN recalls that the deceased was sworn in as Senior Magistrate in 1985 in the former Imo and then elevated to judge.
She became the first judge in Abia, after the state was sculpted by Imo in 1991.
He is survived by four children, including two Principal Defenders of Nigeria (SAN), Chris and Gordy, who practice in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.