I made it a habit since child­hood to as­sist peo­ple – Jus­tice Dodo

Daily Trust - - UNSUNG HEROES - From Habibu Umar Aminu, Katsina

Jus­tice Isa Muham­madu Dodo was born in July 1944 in Katsina. He started his first three years of pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at Go­ba­rau Pri­mary School and com­pleted at Katsina Cen­tral Pri­mary School be­tween 1953 and 1960. He pro­ceeded to mid­dle school and spent three years be­fore mov­ing to Katsina Train­ing Col­lege from 196165 where he bagged a Grade II cer­tifi­cate. Be­tween 1966 and 69, Dodo en­rolled at Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity (ABU) for Diploma in English Law and then an Ad­vance Diploma in Is­lamic Law from the same in­sti­tu­tion in 1971. He did his LL.B Com­mon and Is­lamic Law 1974-77, and a LL.M in 1983 at ABU. He was at the Nige­ria Law School La­gos in 1981 and ap­plied to do his PhD but there was no su­per­vi­sor at that time to han­dle the topic “Doc­trine of state ne­ces­sity” which he had wanted to work on.

Dodo has been chair­man of the Jama’atul Nas­ril Is­lam (JNI) since 2002 when he as­sumed that re­spon­si­bil­ity and had served in var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties like Chair­man of In­ter Re­li­gious Com­mit­tee, Chair­man Sharia Com­mis­sion. He is a Na­tional Award re­cip­i­ent of OON by the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment in 2005.

He told Daily Trust in Katsina that “I started work af­ter my Grade II from Katsina Teach­ers Col­lege and rose to be­come an As­sis­tant Head­mas­ter in 1966. Af­ter my sec­ond diploma in Is­lamic Law I was of­fered a job at ABU were I taught North­ern Nige­ria area courts. Af­ter two years there I be­came an in­spec­tor for area courts. I was given a job at the Court of Ap­peal were I spent eleven years. I came to Katsina as Khadi of Sharia Court of Ap­peal from 1990-2004. I be­came Grand Khadi 2004-2009 from where I re­tired.”

How has re­tire­ment?

Al­ham­dulil­lah, in this work of ours, if you know peo­ple and peo­ple know you, you don’t have a prob­lem. Af­ter work­ing for about 44 years, I have com­menced with my own af­fairs; I have en­gaged my­self in farm­ing and build­ing which ev­ery­one knows me with, aside read­ing and school­ing.

You were re­cently nom­i­nated as one of the Un­sung He­roes that Media Trust should hon­our. How does it feel to be nom­i­nated by peo­ple that may even be un­known to you?

Hon­estly, I heard it first from you while you were try­ing to

life been af­ter con­tact me for a meet­ing. Well, I’m happy about it, giv­ing the fact that peo­ple have seen what I have been do­ing and think I de­serve this honor. All I can say is thank God for my life and what I was able to do and achieve. Those who made the nom­i­na­tion know bet­ter. I’m sure they must have told you peo­ple in Media Trust their rea­sons.

Can you tell us some of your most mem­o­rable times in your 44 years of ser­vice?

I’m very happy that ev­ery case that came to my court was treated with fair­ness. Hav­ing been at the Ap­peal Court, ours was mostly to ad­dress is­sues that peo­ple didn’t feel sat­is­fied with. I usu­ally se­lect judges that are most cred­i­ble and in most cases I make my­self a mem­ber of the panel. I’m happy that we ad­ju­di­cated in pur­suance to our knowl­edge and with the fear of God. The times I feel very happy were times we han­dled cases about in­her­i­tance. In one in­stance, some peo­ple wanted to swin­dle oth­ers of a house in an in­her­i­tance case; many chil­dren were in­volved, and we di­vided all the items left be­hind, but in the case was a house that was ear­lier sold to one of the de­ceased’s wife and the other wife we re­al­ized had a lot of chil­dren and needed it most. We had to de­vise a mech­a­nism where we sought a house for her and all went home happy. Another was about a lady who was de­nied her share of in­her­i­tance be­cause she was old and they ex­cluded her. We had to in­ter­vene. How­ever, one of the most se­nior sons of the de­ceased proved very stub­born and wanted to take all the prop­erty. He played hard with the court. I had to im­prison him. That was the only time that I sent some­one to jail but af­ter sev­eral pleas and his ac­cep­tance to re­turn what wasn’t his to the right­ful owner I re­leased him and gave the woman what was hers. Those were some of the mo­ments I was happy and can’t seem to for­get.

How can you com­pare the ju­di­ciary then and now?

Un­der my su­per­vi­sion then, any­body who has no case can­not be a win­ner in a case but any­one with gen­uine rea­sons must be given jus­tice. We have a lot of prob­lems now; some peo­ple bribe judges and I didn’t tell you we don’t have cred­i­ble ones, we have them but some are very cor­rupt, that is why I ap­peal to them to be God fear­ing be­cause what­ever they do they will meet the Almighty God some­day. From the high courts to the Supreme court, we have cred­i­ble judges, but there are some who are ac­cept­ing money to sell the oath they made. So I ap­peal to peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the judges, to fear God be­cause any­one who comes be­fore a judge ex­pects to get jus­tice and ev­ery judge ought to be fair and just. That is my plea.

You re­cently set up a foun­da­tion that is into hu­man­i­tar­ian ac­tiv­i­ties, how do you get fund­ing?

My foun­da­tion is dear to me and my fam­ily. I use it in reach­ing out to the needy and the less priv­i­leged in our so­ci­ety. I use it to build schools, houses, mosques, and to help peo­ple. I made it a habit since child­hood to as­sist peo­ple be­cause I grew up see­ing what my fa­ther was into, so I de­vel­oped the act. My fa­ther used to help peo­ple a lot. On fi­nances, well I get them from the lit­tle off my build­ing, busi­nesses, farm­ing, rentals, which are my sources of liveli­hood. I felt I need to share from my mod­est in­come so I took it upon my­self to reach out to the needy. We must help out as much as we can; help­ing the needy is the best thing for any­one to do par­tic­u­larly given the com­mand of God for us to help the needy. Help­ing the needy draws one closer to God.

What do you want to be re­mem­bered for?

Firstly, I want to be re­mem­bered as a judge who dis­pensed jus­tice with­out fear or favour. There was no­body that came to me seek­ing for jus­tice that didn’t get it. Se­condly, for all that I’m do­ing now through my foun­da­tion in reach­ing out to the needy, help­ing out day and night. These two are what I want to be re­mem­bered for and noth­ing more. Last words…… I call on Nige­ri­ans to fear God be­cause the fear of God will make one not to cheat any­body. Nige­ria is sup­posed to be more de­vel­oped than what we have now be­cause of our rich re­sources. We have peo­ple that are well ed­u­cated, so we ought to be far de­vel­oped. I hope with this change in gov­ern­ment, the coun­try will de­velop within the short­est pos­si­ble time.

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