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  Sir Olumuyiwa Jibowu, Kt was born on the 26th of August 1899. was a Nigerian jurist who was the first African to serve on the Supreme Court of Nigeria.The first African police magistrate, the first Nigerian High court judge, a pioneer of the Nigerian Judiciary and one-time Chief Justice of Western Region, Nigeria. Jibowu was also a judge of the West African Court of Appeal.
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Life and career Samuel Olumuyiwa Jibowu was the first surviving male child of Samuel Alexander Adebowale Jibowu- first Secretary Egba United Govt and Mary Elizabeth Jibowu (née Pearce). He was also a nephew-in-law to Adeyemo Alakija. He was born on August 26, 1899. He attended Abeokuta Grammar School and taught at the school prior to attending college. In 1919, he left Nigeria for London where he attended Oxford University, England and earned a degree in Civil Law. He was called to the bar in 1923 at Middle Temple, London. By 1931, he was a police magistrate, the first African to hold such a position during the time colonial authorities doubted the integrity of Africans. In 1942, he was appointed as a Judge of the High Court. He later became a puisne Judge at the High Court in Benin city and in 1957, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Lagos High Courts and the Southern Cameroons. He was the only black magistrate in Nigeria before 1934 and was respected for his sterling principles. In March 1958, he succeeded Adetokunbo Ademola as the Chief Justice of the Western region. Jibowu was highly regarded and among those present at his funeral service included: James Wilson Robertson Kofo Abayomi, John Rankine, Akintola and Supreme Court Justices.
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Commission of Enquiry In 1956, Jibowu was appointed to head an enquiry into the management of the Cocoa Purchasing Company, a semi-governmental company formed to compete against expatriate firms and to act as an agency for loan disbursement. The report of the commission detailed instances of corrupt practices by officials of the company. The Commission of Inquiry established an investigation into the corruption in the Cocoa purchasing firm of Ghana, which had nearly 30,000 cocoa farmers had been barred from the Nkrumah regime, according to Jibowu. The company was used as a conduit of patronage benefiting allies of company officials and for the furtherance of the political activities of its leaders. The critical report led partly to the abolishment of a loan scheme that was open to cocoa farmers.
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Summary of the Many Firsts. Olumuyiwa Jibowu was the first African to serve on Nigeria’s Supreme Court and became the first Nigerian High Court judge. Jibowu was elected Chief Justice of the Lagos High Courts and the Southern Cameroon in 1957. He was Nigeria’s first African police magistrate and the first African criminal magistrate, a pioneer of the Nigerian Judiciary and the late Chief Justice of the Western Region. Justice Olumuyiwa Jibowu died on the 1st of June 1959. Reference Featured Image Source: LitCaf
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This article was first published on 24th April 2022 and updated on May 1st, 2022 at 8:51 am


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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