The acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, has been asked to reform the nation’s judiciary and restore public confidence in the third arm of government.
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, made the call on Monday in a statement while reacting to the resignation of the former CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
Akpata noted that the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary, urging the incoming chief justice to make judicial reform and the restoration of public confidence in the judiciary his first task upon assuming office.
The NBA president pledged the readiness of the Bar to work together with Justice Ariwoola in cleansing “the Augean stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the judiciary but the entire legal profession”.
He also thanked the outgone chief justice for the cordial working relationship between the bar and the bench during his tenure and wished him a quick recovery and well-deserved peaceful retirement.
“It is, however, impossible to consider his lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the Supreme Court where 14 justices of the court censured the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria over his lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues,” said Akpata.
President Muhammadu Buhari had sworn in Justice Ariwoola to replace Justice Muhammad who resigned as the CJN on Sunday night on grounds of ill-health.
News of Muhammad’s resignation broke barely a week after 14 justices of the Supreme Court wrote to him to lament the dilapidated state of affairs in the apex court.
In a leaked letter, the justices alleged that Justice Muhammad failed to address the issues raised despite drawing his attention to them, among other claims.
But these allegations were denied by an aide to the former CJN.