By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The National Judicial Council (NJC) has recommended the appointment of Justice Tanko Muhammad, as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Justice Muhammad was sworn in as the CJN in acting capacity on January 25, immediately after the then CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen was suspended by Buhari.
However, as the initial three months expired, the President in April requested and obtained the NJC’s consent to extend Muhammad’s acting tenure by the constitutionally-allowed three months, which will as well lapse on July 25.
In a statement signed by Director, Information of the NJC, Mr. Soji Oye, yesterday, the commission took the decision to recommend Muhammad for appointment as the substantive CJN at the council’s meeting on Wednesday.
The statement added that a member of the council, Justice Umaru Abdullahi, who is a former President of the Court of Appeal, presided over the session of the NJC’s meeting when the recommendation of its Interview Committee that screened two candidates presented by the Federal Judicial Service Commission to it for appointment as CJN was considered and approved.
The statement further stated that the Acting CJN, Justice Muhammad, who doubles as the Acting Chairman of the NJC, presided over the plenary of the council when eight successful candidates were recommended to the governors of their states for appointment as Chief Judges and Grand Kadis for the states.
The states are, Sokoto, Lagos, Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, and Jigawa.
The statement read, in part, “The National Judicial Council rose today from an emergency meeting to recommend to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, the appointment of Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“The meeting which was initially presided over by Hon. Mr. Justice Umaru Abdullahi, CON, considered and approved the recommendation of its Interview Committee that screened the two candidates presented by the Federal Judicial Service Commission to it for appointment as Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Subsequently, the plenary of the Meeting presided over by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Dr. Justice I. T. Muhammad, CFR, recommended to the Governors of Sokoto, Lagos, Anambra, Ebonyi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, and Jigawa States, eight (8) successful candidates for appointment as Chief Judges and Grand Kadis for the states.”
“The successful candidates are, Justice Muhammad S. Sifawa, recommended as the Chief Judge of the High Court of the State; the Acting Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, recommended as the Chief Judge of Lagos State; Justice Ijem Onwuamaegbu, as Chief Judge of Anambra State; and Justice A. Anselm as Chief Judge of Ebonyi State.
“The rest are Justice Aliyu M. Mayaki, recommended as Chief Judge of Niger State,
“Justice Filibus B. Andetur, recommended as Chief Judge of Taraba State; Kadi Tijjani Yusuf Yakasai, recommended as the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Kano State; and Kadi Isa Jibrin Gantsa, recommended as the Grand Kadi of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Jigawa State.”
The NJC’s statement noted that the newly appointed heads of court “will be sworn in after the approval of the President and their respective State Governors and confirmation by the Senate and State Houses of Assembly as the case may be.”
The Commission also acknowledged the notice of retirements of Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Chief Judges of Gombe, Edo, Niger, and Ebonyi states.
The Acting Chief Judge of Kebbi States as well as those of nine other judicial officers from the Federal High Court, High Courts of Gombe, Delta, Edo, Imo, Benue and Katsina state’s notice of retirement was also acknowledged by the NJC.