By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, is dead.
Katsina-Alu who headed the Nigerian judiciary between 2009 and 2011, reportedly died at an Orthopaedic Hospital in Abuja in the early hours of Wednesday.
The former CJN who hailed from Ushongo local government area of Benue state, died at the age of 76.
He would have clocked 77 years on August 28.
Katsina-Alu succeeded Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi as CJN in December 2009.
He took over the mantle of leadership of the judiciary within the period that late President Umaru Yar’Adua who was critically ill, failed to hand over to the then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, a situation that made the then CJN, Kutigi, to perform the swearing-in ceremony on behalf of the absent President.
Katsina-Alu served as CJN till August 2011 when he was succeeded by the late Justice Dahiru Musdapher.
While confirming his death, media aide to the incumbent CJN, Mr. Awassam Bassey, said the news was relayed to the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court by Katsina-Alu’s aide.
Bassey said his principal, Justice Walter Onnoghen, who is currently attending a conference in Canada, had yet to hear about the ex-CJN’s demise.
“I can confirm that the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs. Hadizatu Mustapha, sent me a WhatsApp message to that effect about an hour ago confirming the death of the former CJN.
“I have just called the Chief Registrar to confirm that this is indeed the situation. That the Personal Assistant of the former CJN called her at 3.00pm Nigerian time to inform her of the demise.
“However, it’s 3:30am here in Montreal, Canada, where His Lordship the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, and other Justices of the Supreme Court and Chief Judges of some states, are attending a conference organized by the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, and I haven’t yet contacted the Hon. CJN for his reaction.
“I hope to do that as soon as he wakes up and get his reaction”, read a short statement he sent to Vanguard.