Nigeria: This Week in Nigeria - First Female Chief Justice Appointed

Photo: This Day
Chief Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar.
10 July 2012

This Week: News

Jonathan to appoint first female Chief Justice of Nigeria

President Goodluck Jonathan has appointed Aloma Mariam Mukhtar to the Supreme Court, making her the first female chief justice of Nigeria. Mukhtar is expected to replace Dahiru Musdapher, who is to retire on July 15. Born in Kano State, Mukhtar was the first woman from the north of the country to become a lawyer and the first woman to be appointed a justice of the Court of Appeal.

New manual raises PDP salaries above that of Jonathan

A new manual has been approved by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) which would see party executives earn salaries, rather than just receive allowances. National Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur would be placed on a monthly salary of N2 million ($12,500), which is more than President Goodluck Jonathan's monthly salary of N1.17 million ($7,200). Members of the NWC will still be entitled to housing, furniture and vehicle allowances. The new pay structure is an attempt to avoid NWC members seeking financial assistance from PDP governors, a practice thought to have compromised party leaders in the past.

Gunmen kill 23 in Plateau State raid

At least 23 people were killed and scores more injured last Saturday when gunmen dressed in military camouflage and bullet proof vests attacked villages in the Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State. On Sunday, armed men believed to be the same culprits responsible for the previous day's attacks, shot at the mass burial ceremony for Saturday's victims. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Dantong Dalyop and a member of the state House of Assembly Gyang Fulani were amongst those killed at the funeral. The attacks are being blamed on Fulani herdsmen, motivated by a disagreement over land in Plateau State.

South Korean company to provide 10,000 mega-watts of electricity projects

Nigeria's federal government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korean company, Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company to facilitate the production of 10,000 mega-watts worth of electricity projects in the country. As well as agreeing to provide 20% equity in the various projects identified under the scheme, Daewoo will also provide expert advice and guidance on electrical production and the construction of power projects to companies wishing to do business under the agreement.

Another fighter jet crashes in Kaduna

A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) F7-Ni fighter jet crashed whilst on a routine training exercise close to Kaduna airport last Wednesday. A search and rescue team from the NAF 301 Flying Training School in Kaduna was immediately dispatched and rescued the pilot who is said to be in a stable condition. There were no fatalities on the ground and a preliminary investigation into the crash has been ordered by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar.

This Week: Politics

The first shoots of change in a patriarchal Nigeria are visible. Men are no longer the sole figureheads in society; long-stultified ideals are slowly but steadily evolving. Participation in the front line of public service is now more based more on merit than possession of a Y chromosome than it used to be. This change is embodied by the nomination of Justice Alooma Mariam Mukhtar as the first female chief justice of Nigeria. Her precedence-setting career saw her become the first female judge of the High Court in Kano state.

The judiciary has attracted a vast amount of criticism, including allegations of corruption and collusion. The law should be the one institution free from political interests, the last bastion of hope for truth and justice. The appointment of someone with Mukhtar's pedigree and background is a reassuring step towards reclaiming its legitimacy and I wish her all the best as she discharges her duties.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is a vital arm of Nigeria's armed forces but it is prone to error and unreliability. Numerous crashes have occurred over the last 10 years. None of these mishaps have been combat-related, leading many to assume technical malfunctions and outdated equipment are the main reasons. The NAF, one of the largest air forces in West Africa, consists of about 10,000 personnel and boasts aircrafts such as F-7s, Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, armed helicopters, and military transport aircraft. Yet there is no real culture of maintenance. On 26 September 1992, a NAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules crashed three minutes after take-off from an airfield in Lagos. Three engines failed, killing all 158 passengers. In 2006, another military aircraft crashed with 18 people on board, including several senior army officers, as they left Abuja. The attitude towards the maintenance and refurbishment of Air Force planes must be taken more seriously; and the same must go for the Nigerian aviation industry in general. With the planned purchase of 15 Chengdu F-7 fighters from China, a change in mentality and infrastructure is needed if Nigeria wishes to maintain its dominance in the region.

Writers of the week:

'Stopping illegal mining and dredging in Lagos' by Tayo Ogunbiyi takes a look at the boom of the illegal mining sector that has increased with the needs of the state, yet lacks the regulation that could prevent lives from being put at risk. The article highlights an area not often touched upon in which shady entrepreneurs make a living with state resources.

'10 Reasons Why FG Must Stop Sending Southerners To The North For NYSC' by Churchill Obinna Okonkwo is a piece that asks why the government would put its youth in harm's way. Many members of the Nigerian Youth Service Corps refused to go to their assigned postings in troubled states in the north last week. Okonkwo in his article mixes humour with home truths as he lists 10 reasons the scheme was misguided.

Organisation of the week:

The Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) was established through an act of parliament in 1960. The first official record of the Red Cross in Nigeria dates back to 1917 when a fundraising activity was held in aid of Nigerian soldiers who fought on the side of the allies during World War I. The NRCS focuses on Disaster Preparedness and Response allowing for early warnings of impending disasters. The NRSC are also involved in Community Based Health Programs, along with Restoring Family Links caused by conflict or natural hazards and Youth Development training. The NRCS has over 350,000 well-trained volunteers in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, and are usually the first responders to emergencies nationwide.

Lagun Akinloye, a British Nigerian, studied Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds. He is particularly interested in the history and politics of West Africa, specifically Nigeria.

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