Tanko Muhammad, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, has installed 22 new judges in the Federal Capital Territory.
Four of the newly installed judges are the children of current and retiring judges, while one is the brother of a serving judge.
The inauguration comes less than a year after demonstrations erupted over the National Judicial Council’s controversial list of nominees, which was forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for consideration.
The President’s approval of the 22 judges was sent in a letter marked ‘secret’ and signed by Buhari earlier this month.
Njideka Nwosu-Iheme, the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Mary Odili Daughter, Njideka Nwosu-Iheme is one of the newly inaugurated judges. Nwosu-Iheme was appointed to the FCT Judiciary in March 2015, and was a Magistrate in the Wuse Zone 6 Magistrate Court until recently.
The relatives of at least eight judges were on the list, according to a petition signed by Silas Onu and Chidi Odinkalu, the conveners of the Open Bar Initiative, on May 6, 2020.
Fatima Abubakar Aliyu, the daughter of the immediate past President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa; Mimi Katsina-Alu Apena, the daughter of late CJN, Aloysius Katsina-Alu; and Ibrahim Mohammed, the son of a former grand-khadi of the FCT, were among those inaugurated on Tuesday whose nominations had been challenged.
Nwabulu Chineze, who is claimed to be the sister of the presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal in Akure, is one of the others.
The remaining judges are Madugu Alhaji, Agunloye Kayode, Enenche Eleojo, Aminu Abdullahi, Nwecheonwu Elewe, Sadiya Mayana, Kanyip Indinya, Aliyu Shafa, Mohammed Zubaru, Oluyemisi Adelaja, Agashieze Odinaka, Aliyu Ahmed, Hafsat Abba-Aliyu, Olufo
The CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, spoke at the inauguration of the 22 new judges, urging them to avoid doing anything that would stain their names or bring them into contempt.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria provided the advice on Tuesday at the Supreme Court Complex in Abuja, where he was sworn in as a judge.
“The bench is not for the practical, greedy, or people of dubious character who are readily swayed by a plate of porridge served by desperate litigants,” he remarked.
The Chief Justice of the United States challenged them to rise above temptations and trials that might block or even halt their ascent to the peak of their profession.
The freshly sworn-in judges, he said, have made a lifetime commitment with God and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adding that anything they do properly will be counted and recorded in their favor.
“Appointment to the bench is not an appointment to money, vainglory, dishonesty, or an ostentatious lifestyle through corrupt contacts,” he said, noting that the National Judicial Council’s searchlight had been directed at all judicial officers in the country.
“Our radar is sophisticated enough to identify any sort of corruption and crime,” the CJN explained. The remoteness of your adjudication site will never obscure our view of you.”
While warning the judges that the NJC had a powerful lens to catch and document their behaviour, Muhammad cautioned them to be cautious in their actions to prevent regretting their appointment as a judge.
The CJN stated that the letters and phrases of the oath they took must be kept at the forefront of their minds and used liberally in their decisions.
Muhammad admonished them to be impartial, fair to all, and to act with fairness and equality in all of their endeavors.