President, United Nations Dispute Tribunal.
Commonwealth High Court/Court of Appeal Judge, The Gambia.
High Court Judge, Nigeria.

AMANDLA! Vanguard Edition

Nkemdilim Izuako

My biggest professional challenge was my refusal in 2001 to be told what decision to give in a case in which the governor of my state was interested. I was punished with a transfer, an official query and several attempts on my life. I was helped by Amnesty International to flee Nigeria in 2003. As a Judge in the Court of Appeal in The Gambia in early 2006, I offended the government when I gave a minority judgment in a politically-motivated case. I was punished with non-renewal of contract. At the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT), leading the Judges to assert their position earned me an early termination of my contract.

My advise to other women in law is that although it is difficult and uncomfortable, dangerous even to resist official or other pressures to give decisions against your conscience; you earn respect, you stand tall and fulfill the oath of your office to work with integrity. When you do the right thing, you contribute to making the world a better place, you become a shining example to others who realize that they can live up to the judicial oath. My family, friends and colleagues are proud of my work. In my teaching and mentoring of law students, I can show them through my personal examples that integrity is integral to the law.

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