Alex Enumah and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, have expressed their sadness over the death of former CJN, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi.
Kutigi was reported to have passed on in a London hospital Saturday October 20, 2018 at the age of 78.
In a statement by Onnoghen’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Awassam Bassey, the CJN, who on behalf of the judiciary commiserate with family members of the late Kutigi, has directed that, “The Nigerian National Flag in the premises of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, 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) and 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”, as a mark of deserved honour to the deceased jurist.
Part of the statement reads: “The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has received with sadness the news of the demise of His Lordship, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON, who died in a London hospital on Saturday, 20th October, 2019 at the age of 78 years.
“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.”
Also, the CJN has instructed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to open condolence registers at both foyers of the court to enable Honourable Justices of the Court and other well-wishers pay their last respects to the deceased.
Onnoghen however prayed for the peaceful repose of Justice Kutigi and urged God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
Similarly, former Vice-President and PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has said that the death of former CJN, Justice Kutigi, has robbed the country and the judiciary of one of the best legal minds whose contribution to democracy cannot be easily forgotten.
In a statement Sunday by his media aide, Mr. Paul Ibe, in Abuja, Atiku said that Kutigi was a great Justice who avoided controversy throughout his judicial career, adding that his commitment to law and justice and democracy would be remembered for years to come after his death.
He recalled that as the chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Kutigi demonstrated admirable wisdom and remarkable leadership in handling such delicate national assignment.
“By successfully chairing such gathering of Nigerians from diverse backgrounds, Kutigi showed a great capacity for leadership and broadminded disposition,” he said.
The Waziri Adamawa prayed to Allah to bless and forgive the soul of the late CJN and wished his family the strength to overcome this moment of great loss.
The late Justice Kutigi served as Chief Justice of Nigeria from 30th January, 2007 to 31st December, 2009.