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NO CONTROVERSY OVER KATSINA-ALU'S AGE -SUPREME COURT

By NBF News
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The Supreme Court yesterday said there has never been any controversy over the age of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katina-Alu who was born on August 28, 1941. The date, according to the apex court was reflected in all his records through all the institutions he attended and the various organizations he has worked before being elevated to his present position.

A statement from the apex court endorsed by the Assistant Director Press and Information, Akande Aweneri Festus explained that the CJN is a public officer whose records are public property and thus resides in public domain.

The court was reacting to media reports insinuating that Justice Katsina-Alu who is due for retirement on August, 28, 2011 was born on May 28, 1941 and therefore aught to have retired in May and not August.

It was further reported that the CJN was plotting to elongate his tenure beyond the official retirement age of 70 years as stipulated by the 1999 constitution.

Specifically, section 291 [1] of the constitution provides; 'A judicial officer appointed to the Supreme Court may retire when he attains the age of 65 years and when he shall cease to hold office when he attains the age of 70 years.'

The statement which took a swipe on the media for not being professional on the said report reads'

'Our attention has been drawn to a story in some tabloids of Monday February 21, 2011 concerning the date of birth and the retirement date of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

'For the purpose of keeping the records straight, we wish to state that Hon. A.I Katsina-Alu was born on August 28, 1941 and he is due for retirement on August 28, 2011 when he would have clocked 70 years; and there has never been any controversy over this, as all his records from the date of birth through all the institutions he attended vis-à-vis the various organizations he has worked before being elevated to the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria have never been different from what they have always been.

'It is necessary to make it clear that every profession has its ethics and modus operandi, and Journalism being one of such highly revered professions the world over, has its well-defined and refined way of practice. In a situation where stories tainted with sentiments and veiled motives are released to the public, then the practice of ethical dissemination of authentic, factual and verifiable information is being compromised.

'Ordinarily, one would have expected that thorough investigations should be conducted before publishing such story, as the CJN is a public officer whose records are public property and thus resides in public domain. At least the Nigerian Law School which he attended is a public institution where investigations as to his age and other relevant information could be carried out; the same with all the other places he has so far worked, particularly the Benue State judiciary where he was first appointed to the bench as a High Court Judge.'

•Editor's note: The Supreme Court staff nominal roll, which formed the basis of the report in Daily Sun yesterday, stated that Justice Katsina-Alu was born on May 28, 1941.