President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with the first ever female Chief Justice of Nigeria, after her swearing in
By Muhammad Bello
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Monday swore-in the first ever female Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and also conferred on her the national honour of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).
Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar, the first female lawyer in the former Northern Region and the First female High Court Judge in the North, before rising to be the first female Justice of the Appeal Court and the Supreme
Court, became the country’s 13th CJN
Describing the ceremony as "historic", the president advised the new CJN to acclimatise with her new portfolio so as to tackle the numerous challenges of reforming the Nigerian judiciary.
He called on her to adapt to the synergy already created with the judiciary and legislature by the presidency to tackle emerging national challenges like terrorism and corruption, adding that she must give attention to the thorny issue of the trial of corruption cases and terrorism by appointing special courts using her prerogatives.
"Today we are witness to history with the swearing in of Justice Aloma Murkta as the first female CJN. I joined million of our country men, female and youth in congratulating the Nigerian judiciary and your lordship as we record this important milestone in the annals of our nation judicial history. Although this administration has remained focused in projecting women, the learned CJN achieved this outstanding feet on account of her brilliance, resilience and hard work.
“Our administration will continue to accord excellence and give it its deserved place in the service of our nation.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there is the hand of destiny in the life of this distinguished jury. From the records, her lordship has always been a trailblazer in her judicial journey. She was the first female lawyer of the northern extraction, the first female High Court Judge from the north, first female second in command, Kano State judiciary, the first Nigerian female jury to be elevated to the court of Appeal where she served for over 17years at the appellate court.
"Today, she has risen to the pinnacle of her judicial carrier as the first female CJN in further service of our great country. My lord, I congratulate you. Her lordship achievement is an inspiration to all citizens especially womanhood not only in Nigeria but also in Africa and the rest of the world.
"The honourable CJN now join an eminent and exclusive list of achievers recognized throughout the world as beacon of hope in this century. She will after leaving office become a member of our nation's highest advisory council, the Council of State. Here again she will make history as the first female permanent member of that council.”
“Your lordship, Justice Aloma Mukhtar, as you assume office as the 13th indigenous CJN, be rest assured of our continued support and cooperation. May the Almighty God grant you wisdom and good health as you discharge the function of you office,” he said.
The president also commended the immediate past CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher for his efforts within the short period he stayed in office.
He said, "I will like to place on record our immense gratitude to the immediate past CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher, despite his short tenure, he made spirited efforts to restore public confidence in our courts. We wish
Justice Musdapher a well deserved retirement and hope that he will avail his wealth of experience in the continue service of our nation especially as he is now a member of Council of State.”
Speaking to State House Correspondents, at the end of the less than one-hour ceremony, Justice Mukhtar, reiterated her earlier stand during her clearance at the senate that there was no need for special courts.
According to her, “I think I talked about that at the Senate that there is no need for a special court. A judge, two or three in the states can be designated to take care of that. I will again go back to what I said in the Senate, that I will lead by example and I will hope and pray that the others will follow."
In attendance at the swearing-in was the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, she was accompanied by female ministers.
This is the first time she would be attending a function of this nature.
Also in attendance were the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ehedioha.
The governors of Bayelsa and Kano State, Seriacke Dickson and Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso were among other dignitaries at the ceremony.