The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), an umbrella body of lawyers in the country, has passed a damning verdict on Tanko Mohammed’s tenure as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Tanko had resigned citing ill-health. Meanwhile, corruption allegations leveled against him by 14 Supreme Court Justices days earlier fueled controversies.
The NBA, reacting to the resignation, issued a statement thanking him for his service, but said it would be impossible not to condemn the poor image of the judiciary and legal profession under his leadership.
The statement titled ‘Resignation of Chief Justice of Nigeria and Appointment of an Acting Chief Justice’ was signed by Olumide Akpata, NBA President.
It read in part, “We thank His Lordship for his lengthy service to the nation, and wish him quick recovery even as we pray for a well-deserved peaceful retirement.
“In the course of previous publications and communications, I have consistently appreciated the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria for the cordial working relationship between the bar and the bench under our respective administrations. I must do so again today as he bows out.
“It is however impossible to consider His Lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the Supreme Court where 14 Justices of the Court censured the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria over His Lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues.
“Beyond this, there is near universal agreement that public confidence in the judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low. There is now more than ever the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary and to rebuild the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria.
“These should form the immediate first tasks for Honourable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is expected to now take over as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.”
Olukayode Ariwoola was announced as Acting CJN following Mohammed’s resignation.
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