By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — A female Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mariam Aloma, has been nominated to replace Justice Dahiru Musdapher as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, come July 16 when Musdapher will retire.
However, her appointment is subject to ratification by the Presidency.
This came as Justice Musdapher, yesterday, debunked insinuations that he resigned his appointment, saying he only wrote to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to expedite process for the swearing-in of his successor on July 16.
In line with the express provisions of section 291(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, Justice Musdapher will cease to be a judicial officer on July 15, a day he would clock the 70 years mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court Justices.
Though Justice Musdapher who will spend only 11 months in office, took over the affairs of the Nigerian Judiciary in acting capacity on August 28, he was, however, confirmed as the 12th indigenous CJN by President Goodluck Jonathan on September 26.
Investigation by Vanguard revealed that Justice Musdpaher had on April forwarded her name to the Federal Judicial Service Commission, FJSC, and the NJC, for consideration, just as he equally tendered his notice of retirement to the two legal bodies.
Remarkably, Aloma had recently rejected an offer for international appointment, after she was nominated as the Chief Judge of The Gambia.
Sequel to speculations that he resigned after tendering a “quit notice” to the FJSC and the NJC on Wednesday, the CJN, yesterday, issued a statement in Abuja, debunking the rumour.
The statement signed by his media aide, Mr Mohammed Adamu, read: “The Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Dahiru Musdapher, contrary to speculations, has not resigned his appointment.
“The CJN had, on April 11, 2012, written to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to give three months notice of his retirement from service as a judicial officer.
“This, as the CJN indicated, is so ‘that the necessary processes will be commenced early enough to enable the swearing of a new Chief Justice’ by July 16, 2012.
“It is public knowledge that by the provisions of Section 291(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the CJN shall cease to be a judicial officer come July 14, 2012 when he would be 70 years.”
Justice Mariam Aloma who hails from Kano State, started her law career in 1967. She was be the first female judge to be sworn into the Supreme Court bench.