President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Hon. Justice Monica Bolna’an Dongban-Mensem as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal for an initial period of three (3) months.
The appointment, according to a statement by presidential spokesman Garba Shehu on Thursday, will take effect from Friday, March 6, 2020, when the incumbent President of the Court of Appeal, Hon. Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, would statutorily retire from service.
Justice Mensem, who is the next most senior Judge of the Court of Appeal, will be acting pending when a substantive appointment to the position of the President of the Court of Appeal may be made by President Buhari subject to the confirmation of the Senate.
The President’s approval of the appointment of Justice Mensem, followed the recommendation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in line with the provisions of Section 238(4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Justice Dongban-Mensem, who hails Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State, received her LL.B and LL.M from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria-Nigeria and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, Russel Square – London.
She has worked as Registrar of Plateau State High Court in 1979 and Magistrate of various grades up to Chief Magistrate between 1981 and 1990. She was Visiting Lecturer on Press Law at the Catholic Media Centre, Kaduna from 1988-1992 and Part-time Lecturer at the University of Jos between 1989 and 1997.
From 1990-1993 Justice Dongban-Mensem served as Deputy Chief Registrar, Superior Courts and Protocol Affairs and was appointed Judge, High Court of Justice, Plateau Judiciary from 1993-1996. On transfer from the former, Dongban-Mensem became the Judge, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Judiciary from 1997-2003.
Apart from being on several panels of investigation in the Plateau State Judiciary, she has performed numerous ad-hoc duties in the capacity of Secretary, Plateau State Law Report Committee, Secretary/Legal Adviser, Ad-hoc Committee on Widowhood Practices in Plateau State all in 1991 and a Pioneer Board Member/Legal Adviser, Plateau State Commission for Women from1991-1992 among several others.
She was also an Advisory Committee Member for FCT Judiciary on the National Centre for State Courts International Programs Division from 2001-2002 and was Acting Presiding Justice of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal between November and December 2009.
Justice Dongban-Mensem is one of the hardest working Nigeria judicial officers. As at December 2019, she had over 150 Lead and 100 Contributory Judgments respectively. She has always led notable jurists to decide high profile and very interesting cases. These cover electoral, commercial, civil and criminal matters on appeal from the lower courts and court martial decisions.