By Andy Chukwu
The Senate has confirmed Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday requested Mohammed’s confirmation. His request was sequel to the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC) to make Justice Muhammad the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.
Justice Mohammed was first appointed in January after President Buhari suspended then Chief Justice, Walter Onnoghen, who was accused of false declaration of asset, from office.
Prior to the confirmation, the lawmakers went into an executive session which lasted for about half an hour after which Justice Mohammed was invited into the chamber.
The Senate voted to confirm him after he responded to questions from the Senators during his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Mohammed fielded questions on various subjects, relating to the independence of the judiciary, corruption in the judiciary, establishment of special courts for corruption trial and respect for court rulings, among others.
During his hearing, he pledged to work with the Executive and Legislative arms of government to “take Nigerian judiciary to greater heights.”
He also said one of the reasons Nigerian judiciary is aback is lack of autonomy. He said the judiciary cannot appoint six more justices because there are no offices to accommodate them and that the salaries and allowances of lawyers and justices are laughable.
Mohammed said it is the duty of the Legislature to make these things right.
“My view is that only the legislature can put things right. Call a spade a spade,” he said.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan commended Justice Mohammed and thanked his colleagues who asked wide range of questions.
“I assure you that we are trying to work with the judiciary. We must ensure that the judiciary is properly remunerated. We will work with you,” he said.
The Senate thereafter confirmed Mohammed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The new CJN was born on December 31, 1953. He hails from Doguwa, Giade Local Government of Bauchi State. He attended primary school at Giade Primary School from 1961 to 1968 and then Government Secondary School, Azare from 1969 to 1973.
He proceeded to Abdullahi Bayero University College, Kano for his IJMB from 1975 to 1976 and later went ahead to read Law at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1976 to 1980. He attended Nigerian Law School from 1980 to 1981.
Justice Muhammad was elevated to the position of Justice of the Court of Appeal from 1993 to 2006. He was appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the year 2006 and was sworn in on the 8th of January 2007 until his appointment as the Acting CJN by the President in January.