Chief Justice of Nigeria: Tanko Out, Ariwoola set to replace him
Justice Olukayode Ariwoola is expected to be sworn in as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) on Monday after the sudden resignation of Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as the head of the nation’s judiciary.
The Special Assistant on Media to the embattled CJN, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, who confirmed the resignation of Justice Tanko Muhammad as CJN, hinted that the swearing-in of the new CJN is slated for Monday afternoon.
Justice Muhammad was said to have resigned his appointment as the head of the nation’s judiciary on health grounds.
Mohammed resigned in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The President swore Tanko in as the acting CJN in January 2019 following the suspension and later sack of former CJN Walter Onnoghen.
Justice Ariwoola is the next most senior judge to Justice Mohammed following Justice Mary Odili’s retirement on May 12 after attaining the compulsory retirement age of 70.
Tanko’s resignation came amid the corruption allegations leveled against him by 14 Justices of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court judges in a protest memo accused Tanko of not giving the Justices their legitimate entitlements.
The Justices said their annual foreign training, meant to enhance capacity building for the country’s judicial process, had been blocked by Muhammad.
The main issues put forward by the Justices in their letter through a welfare committee were; non-replacement of poor vehicles; accommodation problem; lack of drugs at the Supreme Court clinic; epileptic electricity supply to the Supreme Court; increase in electricity tariff; no increase in the allowances for diesel; lack of internet services to residences and chambers.
The judges also accused the CJN of going on foreign trips with his family while denying them the right to go on international training.
In response, Mohammed through his spokesman, Ahuraka told the judges that the Supreme Court was cash-strapped and cannot grant their requests.
CJN noted that the Supreme Court, like any other establishment in the country, has been hit by a devastating economic crunch.
As a result, he said the leadership of the court under him could no longer meet some of its obligations to Justices, especially in the area of welfare.
He said that the memo sent to him by the aggrieved Justices, notwithstanding, there is no rift between him and Justices of the apex court, adding that he did not want to join issues with the justices, as the circulation of the letter was akin to “dancing naked at the market square”.