Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Federation yesterday at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja. She is the 13th Nigerian Chief Justice, and has secured a place in history as the first woman to occupy that position.
In addition to the title of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mukhtar was also decorated with the national honour of Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON).
President Goodluck Jonathan, accompanied by his wife Dame Patience Jonathan, presided over the ceremony. He extolled the virtues and achievements of Justice Mukhtar, describing the ceremony as “historic”, and calling her a trailblazer and a woman of destiny.
President Jonathan expressed his confidence in Justice Mukhtar’s ability to reform and reposition the judiciary for effective and efficient discharge of constitutional mandate. He urged the new CJN to quickly settle down for the urgent task of tackling the numerous challenges in the Nigerian judiciary. He noted that she must pay particular attention to critical national issues like delayed trials in cases of terrorism and corruption.
Justice Mukhtar adds this new crown to her accomplished list of career “firsts”: she is the first female lawyer from the former Northern Region, the first female judge of the High Court, the first female Justice of the Appeal Court and the first female justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
At the end of the ceremony, Justice Mukhtar stated that hers would be a leadership by example. “I will lead by example and I will hope and pray that the others will follow,” she said.
Justice Mukhtar takes over from Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who officially retired on Sunday at the age of 70 years.