The process of appointing a new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has started as the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) has recommended Justice Mahmud Mohammed to replace the outgoing CJN, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar.
Justice Mukhtar, who made history as the first female CJN will retire on November 20, when she would have attained the mandatory retirement age of 70. She was born on November 20th, 1944.
Last Thursday, the FJSC met in Abuja and unanimously recommended Justice Mohammed to the National Judicial Council (NJC) for further recommendation to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Justice Mohammed is the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court. Succession to the post has always been based on seniority.
Based on FJSC’s recommendation, the NJC will meet tomorrow to take a decision on this and is expected to recommend Justice Mahmud to the president for appointment as the next CJN.
Presently, Justice Mahmud is the Deputy Chairman of the NJC. The CJN chairs both the FJSC and the NJC.
The council will also nominate Justice Walter Nkanu-Onnoghen alongside Mohammed to succeed the latter as the deputy chairman of the NJC.
Nkanu-Onnoghen is next to Mohammed in seniority.
Justice Mohammed, who hails from Jalingo in Taraba state, was born on the 10th of November 1946.
He studied for his Bachelor’s degree in Law (LL.B) at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, graduating in 1970, after which he attended the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and was subsequently called to bar in 1971.
He began his career in the public service with the Ministry of Justice of the defunct North-eastern and Gongola states, as well as serving on the bench in Gongola.
In 1991, he was appointed the acting Chief Judge of Taraba state, and later confirmed as the substantive Chief Judge of the state in the same year.
Prior to being appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2005, he was a Justice of the Court of Appeal and then its presiding Justice.