Alex Enumah in Abuja
Eight new Justices of the Supreme Court were yesterday sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, thus, pushing the number of Justices of the court from 12 to a record 20, one Justice short of its full complement of 21 justices as stipulated by the constitution.
Justice Muhammad, who lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointments, stated that the figure “is the highest in recent times.”
The justices sworn in yesterday were Lawal Garba, (North-west), Helen Ogunwumiju (South-west), Abdu Aboki (North-west), and M M Saulawa (North-west).
Others are Adamu Jauro (North-east), Samuel Oseji (South-south), Tijani Abubakar (North-east), and Emmanuel Agim (South-south).
Speaking shortly after he administered the Oath of Office on the new Justices, the CJN requested the appointment of the remaining one on the grounds that sooner than later, some of the judges on the bench of the Supreme Court would be going on retirement.
While congratulating the new justices on their elevation to the bench of the apex court, Justice Muhammad advised them to be focused and not allow their personal ambition to becloud their sense of judgment.
According to him, the Justices should begin to see themselves as God’s representatives on earth and make a conscious effort to halt “interactions with people of unenviable inclinations and pedigree”, if they had any.
“Let your conscience guide and filter every thought that traverses your mind from this moment”, he said.
While noting that the justices may have at one time or the other been confronted with some forms of criticism or verbal assaults by litigants who lost their cases, he admonished them to be prepared because, “more of such will come your way, where appellant’s expectations are often very high and infectious”.
According to him, it is necessary to do so because it is impossible to please everyone, especially litigants.
“I am, however, making it absolutely clear to you 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,” he said.
The CJN reminded the new justices that their elevation to Supreme Court was in recognition of their astuteness and evident passion for hard work and urged them to bring their experiences and dexterity to bear at the apex court.
He further charged them to be morally upright, be persons of integrity and always respect the constitution and other extant laws of the country.
The CJN presided, as the eight of them, in turn, took their oath of office and oath of allegiance to the Nigerian Constitution.
After their swearing in, the eight new justices climbed the bench to their positions, where 12 seniors were already seated.