By Ikechukwu Nnochiri & Peter Duru
ABUJA—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 yesterday.
This is even as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, yesterday, directed that the national flag in all court premises and institutions of the judiciary in the country be flown at half-mast for the next seven days.
According to him, the flags should be lowered as a mark of honour to the late Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.
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.
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.
In his reaction, former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, describing the late Katsina-Ala as an illustrious jurist.
In a statement issued yesterday by Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, the former President’s media adviser, Jonathan also described him as a sound legal mind who left indelible contributions to the nation’s jurisprudence.
He said further: “Late Katsina-Alu was an illustrious jurist whose dedication to duty took him to the peak of his career. As the chief justice of Nigeria, late Katsina-Alu believed in the principle of separation of powers and stood firmly for the independence of the judiciary.”
On his part, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, expressed deep sorrow over the death.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Justice as a patriotic and diligent public servant whose many well considered judgements enriched the nation’s jurisprudence and contributed immensely to national development.
Also, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State said the death of Katsina-Alu has thrown the state into sadness and mourning.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom described the late jurist as a peace-loving man, patriot and father who built bridges for many others to cross.
Former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, described him as a jurist that served his country faithfully.