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Senate Confirms Mohammed As New CJN, To Replace Aloma Muktar

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The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Justice Mahmud Mohammed

as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
The confirmation followed President Goodluck Jonathan's letter to the

parliament requesting Mohammed's appointment to be approved to replace

outgoing Justice Aloma Muhktar.
Earlier Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egbe, the Leader of the Senate, had activated

Rule 40 of the Senate Standing Rule to commence the screening of the new

CJN.
Sen. Ike Ekeremandu, the Deputy Senate President, cashed in on the

proceeding to ask Mohammed some questions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ekweremandu's questions were

on the need for special courts, constitutional courts and the alleged

dwindling welfare of judges.
Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) wanted Mohammed to provide answer to

alleged conflicting decisions across the country's courts.

The senator also wanted Mohammed's position on current fusion of the

offices of Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of

Juctice.
Similarly, Sen. Adeyeye Olusola (APC-Osun) had asked the incoming CJN

whether It was compelling to appoint older justices as CJN.

Responding, Mohammed said the country did not require special courts or

constitutional court to administer
fair justice.
“I do not support the call for special courts; the challenge of the

country's judicial System is mainly personnel and not the court structure.

“Nigeria has one of the best judicial structures in the world but still

requires the right quality of personnel to provide fair adjudication,'' he

said.
According to him, “the structure of our court as presently constituted

cannot be said to be responsible for the backlogs of cases across the

country but rather should be hinged on prosecutors''.

“There should be no reason why a case should stay in court for more than

three months,'' he said.
On whether the country should adopt a constitutional court, instead of the

current Supreme Court used for the apex court, Mohammed said the status of

the courts wwas the same.
“It is a matter of nomenclature; the constitutional court is used in

countries colonised by the French while countries that were under the

British use the supreme court.
They have equal jurisdiction,'' he said.
Mohemmed said “the country's Supreme Court has so far been exemplary and

there may be no need to alter the name now,'' Mohammed.

Commenting on conflicting decisions from courts in recent times, Mohammed

said the rise in political litigations had brought pressure on lawyers and

the courts.
“I accept that there has been a number of conflicting rulings and

judgments by judges.
“ These are made possible as a result of interests. Some lawyers and

judges are responsible for this and it must be dealt with,'' he said.

On the fusion of the offices of the AGF and the Minister of Justice, he

said the two offices would serve the country best if separated.

On why the country had appointed older Justices of the court as CJN,

Mohammed said, however, that the constitution did not compel the President

to appoint only older justices.
According to him, “the legal profession is hierarchical and therefore

maintains seniorities in both the bench and the bar''.

“The wisdom, knowledge and maturity required to head the apex court are

acquired through a long professional journey and before long you have

become old,'' he said.
Commenting after the voice votes had affirmed Mohammed's nomination, the

Senate President, David Mark, expressed delight at the effort of the

judiciary to stabilise the country's democracy so far.

Mark said the country would undoubtedly benefit from the appointment of

Mohammed as the new CJN, saying “the judiciary is an important arm of

Government''.
“We are conscious of the fact that it performs vital role in stabilising

our Society and our democracy,'' Mark said.
Earlier, the Senate allowed the Trade Malpractice (Miscellaneous Offences)

Act 2011 (Amendment) Bill 2014 to scale through the first reading.

NAN reports that the Electoral Act 2010 (Amendment) Bill 2014 also scaled

through first reading.
Similarly, the report of the committee on Agriculture and Rural Devel

 
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