Nigeria's first-ever female Supreme Court chief justice was sworn in on Monday by President Goodluck Jonathan, who described the event as "historic".
Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, 68, was nominated to the post on July 4.
"Today we are witness to history with the swearing in of Justice Aloma Mukhtar as the first female chief justice of Nigeria," Jonathan said at the ceremony, calling it an "important milestone in the annals of our nation judicial history."
He cited corruption and "acts of terrorism" as key issues requiring the attention of the country's top jurist.
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR, AT THE SWEARING-IN OF JUSTICE ALOMA MARIAM MUKHTAR AS THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF NIGERIA, ABUJA, JULY 16, 2012.
- Today we are witness to history with the swearing-in of the Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, CFR, as the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria.
- I join millions of our countrymen, women and youths in congratulating the Nigerian Judiciary and your Lordship as we record this important milestone in the annals of our nation’s judicial history.
- Although this administration has remained focused in projecting women, the learned Chief Justice achieved this outstanding feat on account of her brilliance, resilience and hard work. My administration will continue to accord excellence its deserved place in the service of our nation.
- Your Lordships, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, there is the hand of destiny in the life of this distinguish Jurist. From the records, Her Lordship has always been a trailblazer in her judicial journey. She was the first female lawyer of Northern extraction; the first female High Court Judge from the North; first female second in command in Kano State Judiciary; the first Nigerian female Jurist to be elevated to the Court of Appeal where she served for over 17 years at the appellate court. Today, she has risen to the pinnacle of her judicial career as the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria in further service of our great country.
- My lord, I congratulate you!
- Her Lordship’s achievements, is an inspiration to all citizens especially womanhood not only in Nigeria but also in Africa and the rest of the world. The Honourable Chief Justice now joins an eminent and exclusive list of achievers recognized throughout the world as beacons of hope in this century. She will after leaving office, become a member of our nation’s highest advisory council, the Council of State.
- We are confident that this exceptional achievement will herald an era of institutional transformation and judicial activism that will strengthen our social, economic and political systems.
Your Lordship is assuming office at a time when the nation is undergoing reforms in all critical areas of governance.
- It is particularly gratifying to note that her Lordship had pledged during her Senate confirmation hearings to pursue judicial reforms. I am therefore confident that Your Lordship will quickly settle down to work and commence the urgent task of reforming and repositioning the judiciary for the effective and efficient discharge of its constitutional mandate. I have no doubt that your work at our nation’s apex court will benefit from your essential character of integrity, humility and courage.
- Your Lordship will preside over the Judiciary at a time of profound changes that demand a united response. We believe that the Judiciary can play a crucial role as we confront critical challenges and embrace significant opportunities.
- We are dealing with security challenges occasioned by sporadic acts of terrorism in some parts of the country. The three arms of government must work cooperatively to overcome these terrorist threats and acts in the country. The war against corruption is another endeavour that calls for concerted action by all arms of government.
I am confident that the judiciary under your able leadership will rise up to the challenge and provide the much needed support for government to address these challenges.
- Our citizens complain of lengthy trials particularly in cases of corruption, terrorism and other matters of serious public concern. These complaints have led to frequent calls for Special Courts or designation of special judges to handle them with the required experience and speed. It will be your prerogative to consider and decide on these calls but I am sure the entire country is in agreement that Justice delayed is justice denied.
- I believe an independent judiciary remains the final hope of our citizens. The independence of the judiciary is critical to our national development and survival as a people under God.
- Every bold and positive step we take in our march to nationhood is important. Your Lordship should apply the instrument of your hallowed office to ensure timely justice delivery and make manifestly clear that substantive justice will never be sacrificed on the altar of procedural technicalities. Impunity must have no place in a progressive Nigeria.
- My Lords, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I will like to place on record our immense gratitude to the immediate-past Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Dahiru Musdapher, GCON, who despite his short tenure made spirited efforts to restore public confidence in our courts. We wish Honourable Justice Musdapher, a well-deserved retirement and hope that he will avail the wealth of his experience in the continuous service of our nation.
- Your Lordship, the Honourable Chief Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, CFR, as you assume office as the 13th indigeneous Chief Justice of Nigeria, be rest assured of our continued support and cooperation. May the Almighty God grant you wisdom and good health as you discharge the functions of your office. Let me once again on-behalf of our country, congratulate you and also confer on you the Honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
- Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for your attention.