By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Friday, swore in eight new Justices of the Supreme Court, even as he tasked them to be upright and see themselves as representatives of God on earth.
The CJN described the occasion as “epochal and exhilarating”, noting that elevation of the new Jurists took the total number of Justices on the apex court bench to 20.
He said the new Jurists came on board at a time the rank of Justices of the Supreme Court was grossly depleted to 12 owing to various reasons that included retirements.
“It is historical, as it marks the dawn of a new era in the Supreme Court where we will be swearing-in eight Justices in one swoop.
“This event has brought the number of Justices to 20, being first of its kind; though, our full complement is 21 Justices”, he stated.
Though the CJN rated the eight new Justices as “seasoned judicial officers”, who he said have established remarkable acquaintances with judicial oath and rules guiding the conduct of judicial officers, he still enjoined them to be upright at all times and always abide by provisions of the Constitution.
He said: “Your moral uprightness, integrity and respect for the Constitution and other extant laws in operation, must be unwavering.
“At this level of adjudication, you should begin to see yourselves as the representatives of the Almighty God on earth. You must not, therefore, allow your personal ambition or any extraneous considerations to becloud your sense of judgment.
“Your interactions with people of unenviable inclinations and pedigree, if any, must be halted forthwith. Let your conscience guide and filter every thought that traverses your mind from this moment.
“I have no doubt that you may have, at one time or the other, been confronted with some forms of criticisms or verbal assaults by litigants who have lost their cases.
“I want to assure you that more of such will come your way, especially as you now assume duties at the final Court of the land, where appellants’ expectations are often very high and infectious.
“There is no way you can please human beings, especially litigants. That is what it is. I am, however, making it absolutely clear to you all and sundry, that the easiest way to fail in life is to try pleasing everybody.
“The only deity you can fear is the Almighty God, Once your judgment is in consonance with what God expects from you, and is also in accordance with the Constitution, you should consider yourself, the happiest and freest person on earth.
“Aside from that, every other thing you hear around you, is mere noise and or gossip, which will naturally pale into insignificance when the chips are down.
“Your elevation to the Supreme Court bench is obviously in recognition of your astuteness and evident passion for hard work, which is the hallmark of judicial excellence.
“We are, indeed, very proud of your accomplishments thus far and fervently believe you will bring the opulent experience and dexterity to bear on your adjudication at the apex Court”, the CJN added.
The new Justices that were administered the oath of office and oath of allegiance to the Nigerian Constitution, by the CJN, were; Justice Lawal Garba, North West; Justice Helen M. Ogunwumiju, South West; Justice Addu Aboki, North West, Justice I. M. M. Saulawa, North West.
Others are; Justice Adamu Jauro, North East; Justice Samuel C. Oseji, South South; Justice Tijjani Abubakar, North East, and Justice Emmanuel A. Agim, South-South.