Senate Confirms Mohammed As New CJN, To Replace Aloma Muktar
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
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
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
“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
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
“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
“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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