A video has been making the rounds of a disgruntled legal practitioner who has been identified as Okere Kingdom Nnamdi, protesting outside the Federal High Court in Abuja, in which he claims the new CJN is unqualified for the position because “he was never called to bar and is a Sharia court Judge”. Upon research from information freely available on the public domain, these claims were however found to be patently false.
His words: “There are so many lacunas in the 1999 Constitution,” he said. “That same constitution will tell you that an Islamic scholar from a Sharia Court of Appeal can be promoted to the Supreme Court of Nigeria, not minding that he was not called to the Nigerian Bar, that he didn’t read law, because he is an Islamic Scholar.”
“That was how the likes of Tanko Muhammad came to the Supreme Court. Let him tell us his enrolment number. Every Nigerian lawyer that is called to the Nigerian Bar that attended a university and the Nigerian Law School has an enrolment number. He does not have any,” he alleged.
1. Justice Tanko attended Government Secondary School, Azare where he obtained the West Africa School Certificate in 1973 before he later proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Law in 1980. The new CJN was called to bar in 1981 after graduating from the Nigerian Law School. He later obtained a Master and Doctorate (Ph. D) degree from the same university in 1984 and 1998 respectively
2. He was appointed Chief Magistrate in the FCT High Court in 1989 where he served for 2 years (not Sharia court, but they won’t mention this).
3. He was sent to the Sharia Court of Appeal (Bauchi) in 1991 where he served for ONLY TWO (2) YEARS before he was appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal (again, not Sharia court) where he served for THIRTEEN (13) YEARS on the bench…before being sworn in as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2007(again, not Sharia Court) where he has served the country for the last TWELVE (12) YEARS.
THE VERDICT: The new CJN is more than qualified to hold that office regardless of whatever some disgruntled semi-literate ignorant folks say…and he will remain in that office until Onnoghen is able to clear his soiled name if he ever does.
It is also important to note that Justice Tanko Mohammed is the natural successor to Onnoghen as he is the 2nd most senior Justice of the Supreme Court & Vice Chairman of the National Judicial Council (NJC).