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Ariwoola is Chief Justice of Nigeria, as Senate approves; says memo wasn’t for public consumption

The Nigerian Senate yesterday confirmed Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN)

The Nigerian Senate yesterday confirmed Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Ariwoola was confirmed after responding to questions from lawmakers on the floor of the Senate.

He had been acting as the CJN following the resignation of his predecessor, Justice Tanko Muhammad.

Justice Muhammad had, on June 27, resigned on health grounds barely two weeks after 14 justices of the Supreme Court, in a widely circulated memo, accused him of neglecting their welfare, not carrying them along in managing the affairs of the court, the deteriorating condition of services generally, and the state of the litigation department.

Muhammad has since denied the allegations and condemned taking the issues to the public.

Responding to the senators’ concern over the embarrassment the petitions caused the judiciary, Ariwoola said it was miraculous that the memo was leaked to the public as no justice had a copy of it.

He said the Supreme Court Justices did not write petition to or against Justice Mohammed, but an internal memo on how to address the challenges being faced by them as regards welfare and poor working environment.

“We, the justices, were embarrassed when we read content of our memo in the papers.  It was never intended for public consumption since the motive behind the memo was not to fight or bring down anybody. We (14 justices) sat together, wrote the memo, signed it and took it in person to our brother, the Chief Justice,” he said.

“More Justices need to be appointed. There are 13 justices in the Supreme Court instead of 21, and for expeditious consideration, some cases should be allowed to stop at the Court of Appeal. This can only be done through constitution amendment.”

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