2023: Swear in Ariwoola Now, Ex-varsity Don Tells Buhari

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

A former Law Professor at the University of Ibadan, Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swear in Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) without further delay.

Justice Ariwoola has been on acting capacity since June 27, 2022 following the resignation of former CJN, Justice Ibrahim Muhammad.

The president had, on July 26, 2022, forwarded Ariwoola’s name to the Senate for confirmation, following the recommendation by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

However, two weeks after his confirmation by the Senate, President Buhari is yet to swear in Justice Ariwoola as substantive CJN, a development which is beginning to generate concerns particularly as the 2023 general election draws nearer.

Speaking to journalists at a two-day workshop on the Administration of Criminal Justice Act/Laws, Prof. Akinseye-George wondered why the president is yet to swear in Ariwoola as substantive CJN.

“What is delaying the swearing-in of the Chief Justice of Nigeria? This matter should be attended to more urgently and we appeal to Mr President to urgently swear in the new CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola. He has been on acting capacity now for several months, that should not be, we appeal to the Attorney General of the Federation to draw the attention of Mr President to the fact that the Chief Justice of Nigeria needs to be sworn in expeditiously,” he said. 

The senior lawyer, who is also the President of the Center for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS), urged the acting CJN to immediately move for the appointment of more justices into the bench of the apex court, which has seriously depleted in the last two years owing to retirements and death.

He advised heads of courts to recommend only the best, just as he disageed with the position of some lawyers that senior lawyers can also be appointed to the apex court bench.

“I personally do not subscribe to the idea of appointing legal practitioners to the Supreme Court because the culture of a judge is different from a practitioner; the upbringing of a practitioner is different from a judge. Any practitioner that wants to join the bench should start from the High Court,” the Law Professor added. 

Currently, there are only 13 justices on the bench of the Supreme Court, including the acting CJN, a situation which is not too good for the general election usually characterized by huge court cases.

Earlier, the Vice-President of the CSLS, Mrs Olaide Akinseye-George, said that the workshop was aimed at deepening the implementation of the ACJA/ACJL.

She was of the opinion that Nigeria has never lacked good laws but only have challenges of implementation or enforcement. 

“The idea of ACJA Rangers was inspired by the felt need to engage citizens in deepening the implementation of the ACJA/ACJLs of the various states. While Nigeria does not lack good laws, the country often suffers from the lack of effective implementation or enforcement of its laws. Thus, many good laws are left on the shelf to gather dust. 

“In the above premise, the CSLS has come up with the idea of raising a corps of young, dynamic and knowledgeable lawyers who will be trained and deployed to advocate, motivate, champion or otherwise promote the proper implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and Administration of Criminal Justice Laws in the states. 

“Effective Administration of Criminal Justice requires the active participation of members of the public,” she said. 

The vice-president noted that citizens could support law enforcement personnel by serving as informants or whistle blowers — when you see something say something,” she said. 

She added that citizens can arrest suspects and hand them over to the police; serve as witnesses in criminal trials; or serve as initiators of criminal processes by reporting cases to the police, amongst others. 

Meanwhile, the vice-president disclosed that the center has so far trained 130 out of the 370 scheduled for training. 

Related Articles