14 July 2012

Nigeria: Musdapher Swears in Two New Supreme Court Justices

The outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria Dahiru Musdapher has sworn in Justice Musa Dantijo Mohammed and Justice Clara Ogunbiyi as two new justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The two were sworn in moments before the commencement of activities marking Justice Musdapher's retirement from office. This brings to 17 the number of justices at the apex court.

The CJN, while swearing in the new Justices, urged them to be guided in their actions by the Constitution that they have sworn to protect.

He also observed that the elevation of another woman (Justice Clara Ogunbiyi) into the elite judicial office is an indication that the Nigerian women have decided to come out to be counted.

He advised the new justices to be hard working, noting that the reward for hard work is more work. He also informed them to note that as they sit over cases, they too are also on trial.

Speaking at the valedictory session for the outgoing CJN, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, praised the contribution of Justice Dahiru Musdapher in the delivery of justice in Nigeria.

Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former AGF who spoke on behalf of the body of SANs, also lauded the contributions of Justice Dahiru Musdapher especially in some landmark cases which had contributed in no small way to the furtherance of the rule of law and orderliness.

Also speaking, President of the Nigerian Bar Association Mr. Joseph Bodunrin Daudu pointed out that the antecedents of the retiring CJN speaks well of him and noted that he is a cherished ambassador of the Nigerian Bar.

Daudu further stated that the retiring CJN came on board amidst shouts of corruption in the judiciary when the brouhaha of allegations of corruption that bedevilled the Justice Katsina Alu tenure was at its peak. Justice Dahiru's tenure, he observed, has been the most vibrant and most reform- focused.

He called on the incoming CJN Justice Aloma Mukhtar to tackle the menace of retaining sick and non performing justices in the system which he said blocks the way for young and hard working persons to ascend the Bench.

In his valedictory speech, Justice Musdapher noted that his time on the bench as a judicial officer is about to end.

"By virtue of section 291 of the Constitution, I shall cease to be a judicial officer on Sunday, the 15th of July when I shall become 70 years old.

"I have had a long and fulfilled working life. I have been a lawyer of 44 years, 33 of which were spent on the bench. It has not been easy, for the life of a judge, and perhaps seven fold harder, in a young democracy such as ours. It is a heavy burden that fate has placed on our mortal shoulders, and though I shall miss the only life I have known for such a long time, I look forward to retirement with the hope that I have made a positive difference to my society as a legal practitioner, a judge and finally as the head of this nation's judiciary."

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