President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Judiciary not to fail Nigerians in order not to lose confidence of the citizens.
Buhari spoke on Monday at the swearing-in of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), following the resignation of Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad on health grounds.
The President said as the country prepares for the 2023 general election, the Justices of the Supreme Court must abide by their oaths of office.
“I want to admonish the Justices of the Supreme Court to always remain faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to remain steadfastly committed to the Oath of Allegiance which they all subscribed to, as contained in the 7th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Our Nation is approaching a critical general election in 2023, the Judiciary must not do anything to fail the ordinary people of Nigeria which may make them lose confidence in the Judiciary”, he said.
The President said he accepted the resignation of the former CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko with mixed feelings, adding that he was hopeful that Justice Tanko would complete his tenure.
“Earlier today, I received a letter from the Honourable Justice Dr. I. Tanko Muhammed, CFR, resigning his position as Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, on health grounds. The resignation is to take immediate effect!
“CJN Tanko was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2006, sworn in on the 8th of January 2007, and became the Chief Justice of Nigeria in acting capacity on 25th January 2019. He became the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman National Judicial Council on Wednesday, 24th July 2019.
“Ordinarily, he was scheduled to retire from the Supreme Court on the last day of 2023. Unfortunately, as no man is infallible, ill-health has cut short Chief Justice Tanko’s leadership of the Nigerian Judiciary at this time.
“I am therefore constrained to accept his retirement, albeit with mixed-feelings. Much as one may wish that the Chief Justice of Nigeria Muhammed Tanko is able to fully serve his term in office, it presupposes that he is able to perform the functions of the Office without let, hindrance or any form of disability”, he added.
President Buhari, who lauded the good work done by Justice Tanko, emphasized that the three arms of government work in harmony, in line with their mandates.
“Under a constitutional democracy like ours, government powers and responsibilities are clearly allocated and shared among the three tiers; the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The three organs must work harmoniously and optimally in accordance with their respective Constitutional mandates.
“Nigeria’s Judiciary under the leadership of Chief Justice of Nigeria Tanko Muhammed judiciously exercised the Judicial powers of the Federation. His era witnessed several landmark, jurisprudential and policy decisions by the Supreme Court, and by extension other Courts established by the Constitution.
“CJN Tanko dealt firmly with the issue of reckless and indiscriminate grant of ex-parte Orders that was assuming serious dimensions. History will be kind to Justice Tanko Muhammed for his modest contributions to Nigeria’s Judiciary, the strengthening of our democracy and national development”, said the President.
The President therefore, conferred on the former Chief Justice the national honour of GCON (Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger).
While pledging more support, the Nigerian leader assured the Judiciary that there will be no interference from the Executive arm of government.
““This occasion is an opportune time for me, to, as always, assure the Nigerian Judiciary that this administration is committed to ensuring the independence of the Judiciary and will not do anything nor take any steps to undermine your independence. We shall uphold the Constitutional provisions on the Rule of Law and the principles of Separation of Powers”, he assured.