Hon R N Ukeje was the first Female Judge to be appointed to the Nigerian Federal High Court in 1986 and the first Female Chief Judge of the Federal High Court from October 2001. Prior to being appointed to the Federal High Court, she served in a variety of positions in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
She served as State Advocate (DPP’s Division), Ministry of Legal Affairs, Lusaka, Zambia (1972) and Deputy Legal Draftsman, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Lusaka, Zambia (1973).
She was Legal Adviser to the International Committee of the Second Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC’77 (Nigeria) from 1975 – 1977.
She served as deputy Legal Draftsman, Federal Ministry of Justice, Nigeria from 1981 – 1986.
Justice Ukeje has been a member of various Women’s Organisations and Committees. These include the (Legal) National Committee on Women (a Committee of the Federal Ministry of Information, Youth, Sports and Culture); The Board of Trustees, National Centre for Women, Abuja, Nigeria; the National Preparatory Committee on the 4th United Nations World Conference, Beijing, China (1995). She represented Nigeria as a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for 8 years. She served as CEDAW’s Rapporteur for the 8th and 9th sessions, and served as the Vice-President of CEDAW for the 11th and 12th sessions. She also served as the Chairperson, Expert Group to Review and Revitalise the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Women and Development 1994-1995.
Justice Ukeje was the Vice-President International Nigerian Association of Women Judges, an International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) based in Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A. She is the current President, International Association of Women Judges (Africa Region).
Justice Ukeje has contributed to the drafting of several Acts, Decrees and subsidiary legislation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1973-1986) as well as delivering judgments covering various issues within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court from 1986.
She was awarded the National Honour of “Officer of the Federal Republic” in 2006.