……flags in all courts to fly at half mast
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Judiciary has declared seven days mourning, to honour a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, who died in a hospital in London on Saturday.
Consequently, the incumbent CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Sunday, directed that the Nigerian National Flag in the premises of the Supreme Court, the CJN’s official residence in the Three Arms Zone of Abuja, all Judiciary institutions including the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Judicial Institute (NJI), the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), as well as all Courts of Records in the country, should be flown at half-mast for a duration of seven days.
Similarly, the CJN instructed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to open Condolence Registers at both foyers of the Court to enable Justices of the Court and other well-wishers pay their last respects to the deceased jurist.
Kutigi, who served as CJN between January 30, 2007 and December 31, 2009, died after a brief illness.
He died at the age of 78.
In a statement that was signed by his media aide, Mr. Awassam Bassey, Justice Onnoghen, said he received the news of the demise of the erstwhile CJN with sadness.
“The CJN, on behalf of the Nigerian Judiciary and, indeed, all Nigerians, commiserates with the family of the deceased former CJN and urges them to take solace in the fact that their patriarch lived to the fullness of age and served his country diligently, rising to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the highest office in the third arm of government.
“The Hon. Chief Justice prays for the peaceful repose of Hon. Mr. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and urges God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss”, the statement added.
Justice Kutigi was born on December 31, 1939 in Kutigi, North-Western State (which is now located in the Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State).
He served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State until 1976, when he was appointed a High Court Judge.
He was elevated to the apex court bench in 1992 and subsequently okayed by ex-Presient Olusegun Obasanjo to take over the reins of leadership in the judiciary in 2007.
Justice Kutigi succeeded Justice Alfa Belgore as the 10th CJN in the annals of the country.
He handed over to Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu in 2009, upon clocking the mandatory retirement age.