THE ESTABLISHMENT/ORIGIN OF THE IMO STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
The laws of Eastern Nigeria came into force on the 1st day of October, 1963. Section 50, Sub-Sections 1-3, of the said law established a High Court for the Eastern Region.
According to the said Section 50;
(2) The Judges of the High Court of the region shall be
(3) The High Court of the Region shall be a superior court of record and, save as otherwise provided by any law in force in the Region, shall have all the powers of such a Court.
Upon the creation of Imo State in 1976 as one of the (19) nineteen States of the Federation; the afore-mentioned laws of Eastern Nigeria, now applicable in Imo State, equally established a High Court for the State. That marks the establishment of the Imo State Judiciary. And by the Imo State legal Notice (ISLN) No. 5 of 1977, captioned - The High Court Law (Cap.61), the then Military Governor of Imo State, Navy Commodore Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu, established eight (8) Nos. Judicial Divisions in Imo State; namely, Owerri, Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe, Orlu, Afikpo, Ohafia, and Oguta, and were according to High Court (Judicial Divisions) Order, 1977, deemed to have come into force on 1st September, 1976.
Thus the Imo State Judiciary came into being with the other organs/arms of government upon the creation of the Imo in 1976, by the then Military administration of General Murtala Mohammed.
When Abia State and part of Ebonyi State, were carved out of the old Imo State in1991, leaving Owerri, Okigwe, Orlu and Oguta judicial divisions; more judicial divisions have grown out of them. The Imo State Judiciary presently has Owerri, Okigwe, Oguta, Orlu, Aboh Mbaise, Mbano/Etiti, Mbaitoli/Ikeduru, Nkwerre/Isu and Oru Judicial Divisions. The new/additional judicial divisions were created by Imo State legal Notice (ISLN) No. 2 of 1995.
Furthermore, the Imo State Legal Notice No. 2 of 2003 has also created more Magisterial Districts, as well as, subsidiary places of Sessions. The Imo State Judiciary, now has, twenty-three (23 Nos) Magisterial Districts/Main places of Court sitting and fourteen (14 Nos) subsidiary places of Session. The Magisterial Districts are namely: Owerri, Ihiagwa, Aboh-Mbaise, Afor-Oru, Ehime Mbano - Nsu, Ezinihitte-Mbaise, Ideato-North, Ideato-South, Ihitte-Uboma, Ikeduru, Isiala Mbano, Isu, Mbaitoli, Ngor-Okpala, Nkwerre, Obowo, Egbema, Oguta, Okigwe, Orlu, Orsu, Oru and Njaba.
It is pertinent to add that Section 270 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria equally established a High Court for each State of the Federation.
"The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the Courts to which this Section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State".
As regards the Judicial Powers, Section 6 of the constitution vests judicial powers of the Federation in the Court established for the Federation, while the Judicial Powers of the States are vested in the Courts to which the section relates being courts established, subject as provided by the constitution for a state in accordance with the provisions of the said section 6. This role is in plain terms, adjudication and administration of justice.
The Imo State Judiciary (High Court) Headquarters is located along Orlu Road Owerri, about one kilometer (1km) from the main Post Office, Owerri.
Currently the Imo State Judiciary (High Court) has three departments namely: Department of Administration; Department of Planning, Research and Statistics.
CHIEF JUDGES OF IMO STATE JUDICIARY, 1976 - DATE
CHIEF REGISTRARS OF IMO STATE JUDICIARY, 1976 - DATE
JUDGES OF THE HIGH COURT OF IMO STATE OF NIGERIA SERVING, RETIRED, ELEVATED, MOVED TO OTHER JURISDICTIONS AND DECEASED FROM 1976 TO DATE