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A female Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, has been nominated to become the next Chief Justice of the Federation. She may replace Justice Dahiru Musdapher as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) when he retires come July 14, 2012. Her appointment is, however, subject to approval by the Presidency. Justice Musdapher, who will spend only 11 months in office, became the acting CJN on August 28, 2011. However, he was confirmed as the 12th indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Jonathan on September 26, 2011. Speculations are rife that it was the outgoing CJN who may have recommended her to succeed him resigning from his position. He released a statement recently debunking such rumours. The statement, signed by his media aide, Mr Mohammed Adamu, read:
The Honourable, the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Dahiru Musdapher, contrary to speculations, has not resigned his appointment. The CJN had, on April 11, 2012, written to the National Judicial Council, NJC, to give three months notice of his retirement from service as a judicial officer. This, as the CJN indicated, is so “that the necessary processes will be commenced early enough to enable the swearing of a new Chief Justice” by July 16, 2012. It is public knowledge that by the provisions of Section 291(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the CJN shall cease to be a judicial officer come July 14, 2012 when he would be 70 years.
Her appointment will be great news for individuals and interest groups campaigning for more women to occupy positions in the government. Recently, she rejected an offer for an international appointment, after a nomination as the Chief Judge of The Gambia. Hon. Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar, who hails from Kano State, was born in 1944. She was called to the Nigerian Bar on June 26, 1967 and is a Life Member of the International Association of Women Lawyers. She has served in various capacities as:
  • Pupil State Counsel, Ministry of Justice, Northern Nigeria (1967)
  • Draftsman, Office of the Legal Draftsman, Interim Common Service Agency
  • Magistrate Grade I, North Eastern Government (1969 – 1973)
  • Chief Registrar, Kano State Government Judiciary (1973 – 1977)
  • Judge – High Court of Kano State (1977)
  • Justice – Court of Appeal (1987)
  • Presiding Justice – Court of Appeal (1993 – 2005)
  • Justice – Supreme Court (JSC) since 2005
Justice Mukhtar is the first female Justice of the Supreme Court.

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This article was first published on 20th April 2012 and updated on July 17th, 2012 at 11:27 am

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