Laleye Dipo in Minna
Niger State Chief Judge, Justice Aliyu Maiyaki, thursday declared that the tradition whereby elected and other public office holders swear by Bible or Quran before assuming office “is unconstitutional.”
Maiyaki made the declaration in Minna at the swearing-in of the three new High Court Judges, Binta Bawa, Danladi Ahmad, and Salisu Alhassan Maijidadi at Government House in Minna.
The three judges took their oaths of office and oath of allegiance without holding either Bible or the Quran, a development that made Governor Abubakar Sani Bello to ask why the trio did not swear by either of the Holy books.
In his response being the highest law officer on the podium, Justice Maiyaki said: “Swearing on or taking oath of office using Quran or Bible is not a constitutional requirement.
“What is important is when you swear, you believe you are going to abide by the oath whether you swear on Quran or Bible, which is merely symbolic. What is important is the faith.
“Do you want to ensure justice? Have you pledged to ensure justice and be bound by that oath?”
The governor after the response by the Chief Judge asked why elected public officials were being made to swear by either Quran or Bible to which there was no further answer.
Bello then said: “Thank God, I will not need to swear again because this is my second and last term if not I will also have refused to swear by Bible or Qur’an.”
Earlier the governor had told the new judges to operate according to the law and do justice to all manners of people.
“You should protect the integrity of the judiciary,” Bello said, adding that “your assignment is a difficult assignment but you should do your best when cases come before you.”
Bello also presented 31 Peogeut 406 to judges in the state, saying 21 of the vehicles should go to the Sharia Court judges and 11 to Magistrates.
The presentation of the vehicles brought to 46 the number of such vehicles given to the judiciary by the state government.