Nigeria: Muhammad Sworn in As 18th CJN

Ibrahim Mohammed.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday swore-in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Muhammad who has been in acting capacity since January became the 18th CJN. His swearing-in followed his screening and confirmation by the Senate last week.

He took over from the immediate past CJN, Walter Onnoghen, who voluntarily retired recently following his suspension from office by Buhari over allegations of failing to declare his assets.

At the swearing in ceremony were the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

Also at the ceremony that started around 10.30am, included Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.

Others included the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the swearing-in ceremony, the CJN said Nigeria's judiciary is one of the best in the world.According to him "Well, I will want to see Nigerian judiciary, if according to my wish, as the best judiciary in the world. But you see, we are still learning - but I'm proud to say that Nigerian judiciary I'm sure is one of the best in Africa.

"Now if you take a look at judicial officers - all of us are fully trained and all of us are almost, at interval, going on courses so that we remind ourselves of the ethics that is binding on us. Therefore we pray that with the cooperation of the citizens of this country Nigerian judiciary will be a very big judiciary and we hope it will be successful during our tenure.

"Of course once it was dented, but you see many people don't know what is really happening - anytime you allow any go-between - now there are people who are posing themselves as go-between, that is between a Judge and perhaps somebody who is standing trial. Don't ever believe in that kind of thing except is told to him in the court, don't believe in any subterranean way.

Wait let them tell you this is the position of the law. This is what is happening. Some people are going round asking for money here and there. I'm sure any Judge or any Justice who is in his real sense can never ask somebody to go and collect money for him because he knows that he is being paid by government for what he does.

Anybody who is not satisfied with the job and he wants money the judiciary or judicial line is not a place for money-making.

He further explained that " Judicial is a line whereby you make a lot of name and you do what the law asks you to do and this is what we have been doing.

The CJN also stated that the judiciary is supporting the government in fighting corruption because "we interpret the law and we come with better interpretation even if there is any case which is pending and I tell you that we have been speeding up any case that has to do with allegation of corruption we speed it up so that if somebody is required to go to jail, he will go jail and that is the end of it.

"And we would see that all these transcend down to the lower epoch of the judiciary so that even the Area Courts, Magistrate Courts will see what we do and they would be bound by what we do.

He also assured Nigerians that the judiciary under his watch would be better saying" and the issues of all these kinds of corruption I will ask you people or any other person who knows about it to please let him write to me or let him have contact with me and tell me.

"But remember, the thing that is difficult is when we ask you to substantiate you will be able to substantiate. Don't just make a hollow allegation that 'we have heard... .; we have done... ..'. Be sure that you are quite in possession of your facts you will be able to establish when we ask you to establish your allegation and we will deal with it," he stated.

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