Nigerian senate confirms first female chief justice
The Nigerian Senate yesterday unanimously confirmed Aloma Mariam Mukhtar as the country’s first female chief justice (CJN).
Senator Joy Emodi, Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Affairs, said at a news conference:
“the appointment of Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, a woman, to head one of the three arms of government in Nigeria for the first time in almost 100 years of the country’s existence and 52 years of Nigeria ’s Independence is a victory for Nigerian women.”
Emodi also applauded President Jonathan for appointing Mukhtar.
She said: “by this action, President Jonathan has added a new dimension to his promise of gender inclusive government and promoting women.”
Mukhtar has had an exemplary career.
In 1987 she was the first female judge to receive an appointment from the Senate to serve on the Court of Appeal.
During the Senate confirmation hearings, Mukhtar promised to get rid of corruption in the judiciary system and change public perceptions of the Nigerian court system.
“Corruption is in every system of our society,” she said, “and I cannot pretend that it is not in the judiciary.
“What I intend to do to curb this is to lead by example and to hope and pray that others will follow.”
Mukhtar addressed issues such as state governors refusing to release funds to the state judiciaries, conflicting rulings in the Court of Appeal, and the need for laws to address acts of terrorism.
She said: “I know that [terrorism] is something that is aching everybody’s mind in Nigeria and I know that everybody is anxious to ensure that this menace is curbed.
“We can only do that if there is a law in place, but right now there is no law on terrorism.”
Senate president David Mark’s response to Mukhtar’s confirmation was hopeful:
“Clearly, there are number of issues that the judiciary would need to tackle to be able to improve the public perception of the judiciary and also to ensure that there is steady dispensation of justice.
“We can only pray that Honourable Mukhtar will improve the condition in which she finds the judiciary. We will work together with the executive and the judiciary to ensure that there is fairness and there is progress and development in this country.”
Justice Mukhtar will be inaugurated as CJN on Monday.