“You are the hope of the common man,” Nigerian Prelate Tells Lawyers at Legal Year Launch

Bishop Ernest Anaezichukwu Obodo with court officials after Holy Mass to Launch Legal Year at Holy Ghost Cathedral, Ogui Enugu.

The need for the ordinary members of the society to get justice from the courts has been emphasized by a Prelate in the West African nation of Nigeria who has called on all court officials to be the hope of the "common man" by ensuring they receive justice.

“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,” the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Ernest Anaezichukwu Obodo said Monday, September 28.

“When the common man comes to the court expecting justice, let him not be disappointed,” Bishop Obodo told lawyers who gathered at the Holy Ghost Cathedral, Ogui Enugu, to celebrate a special Mass marking the opening of the 2020/2021 Legal Year.

Describing the judiciary in Nigeria as “being muscled by the people in power,” the Nigerian Prelate told lawyers to 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 further urged members of the judiciary to carry out duties in all fairness because they are the “last hope of the common man.”


 “If the common man comes to you crying and cannot say that this is where the truth lies, then there is a problem,” the Bishop said.

Making reference to the persistent violence in some parts of Africa’s most populous nation, Bishop Obodo said, “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 divine-human and human-human relationship and once justice is well applied, the society is in order,” the 53-year-old Prelate said in his homily.

He Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu added, “When every arm of the government is doing its work perfectly, then there is justice in the society.”

Citing the Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen as examples, the Prelate said that “the greatest judicial tragedy in Nigeria is that many people are not being punished for the offences they commit.”

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The situation in the West African 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 aspects of the government are meant to be doing, he said.

Referencing the ancient philosopher, Plato, Bishop Obodo said, “There can never be justice in the society until kings become philosophers or philosophers become king.”

He expressed his appreciation for the change of the prison system in Nigeria to correctional facilities that see that offenders are punished “to be corrected and not to be killed.”

“The Lord expects you to punish offenders and also correct them,” the Nigerian Prelate told lawyers.

He went on to encourage the court officials to “remember to always apply justice and mercy especially when dealing with the poor as it seems justice is meant only for the rich as it's too costly for the poor to afford especially in Nigeria.”


“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. Human justice should reflect divine justice,” the Prelate said in conclusion.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.