By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, yesterday, administered the oath of office to Justice Uwani Musa Abba Aji, as a Supreme Court Justice.
Justice Aji, who is the seventh female justice of the Apex Court, served for 14years as a justice of the Court of Appeal.
In his speech, Onnoghen said it is befitting for the judge who rose as justice of Kaduna division of the appeal court, to be elevated to offer her service to the nation at the highest court of the land.
The CJN noted that Justice Aji’s elevation to the Bench of Nigeria’s apex court is timely and positive, following the retirement of Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi in February, 2018.
He maintained that her journey to the Apex Court was occasioned by her work ethic and integrity, urging her to do even more to leave her footprints on the sands of time in this Court.
Furthermore, the CJN reiterated his warning that any matter that is assigned a date must be heard and determined one way or the other on that date.
He, therefore, advised Counsel to take necessary steps to amend appeals with defects before the due hearing date.
“I congratulate you on your appointment and I welcome you to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. After 14 years of outstanding service at the Court of Appeal, where you rose to become the Presiding Justice of the Kaduna Division, it is only befitting that you are elevated to offer your services to the nation at the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
“You have journeyed through thick and thin to get here. I personally was part of the panel that earlier interviewed you for elevation to this Court.
“You have worked very hard to earn elevation to the Supreme Court, but as you must know already, the reward for hard work is even more hard work. Sometime in September, 2018, I issued a statement to the effect that the Supreme Court diary is full with appeals set down for hearing up to the year 2021.’’
Going further he said, ‘’Accordingly, I explained the important of the warning to mean that any matter that is assigned a date must be heard and determined one way or the other on that date.
“For appeals that may be discovered to have defects, I advised Counsel to take necessary steps to amend such defects before the due hearing date.
“This means that everyone must come to the Court fully prepared for the business of the day, including the Justices, more than anyone else.
“What that means is that there is a lot of work waiting to be done here, especially with pre-election and post-election matters that will arise from the 2019 general elections.’’
Onnighen also hinted that following the retirement of Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi in February, 2018, the number of Justices of the Court became 16, inclusive of the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
He also revealed that within the year, there will be at least one more retirement which will further put pressure on the Bench considering the workload I have already outlined.
‘’Therefore, your elevation to the Bench of Nigeria’s apex court is timely and positive,’’ he concluded.