The NBA says CJN’s resignation cannot be divorced from the raging crisis in the Supreme Court with the 14 other Justices of the Supreme Court accusing Mr Muhammad of poor handling of the affairs of the court.
Recall that 9ja Yarn had earlier reported that Mr Muhammad resigned on health grounds. The resignation came 18 months before he’s due date for retirement which is December 31, 2023 when he should have clocked 70.
Olukayode Ariwoola, who is the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, is expected to be sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari as acting CJN soon.
Reacting to the development in a statement on Monday, NBA President, Olumide Akpata, commended Mr Muhammad for his “lengthy service to the nation, and wish him quick recovery even as we pray for a well-deserved peaceful retirement.”
Mr Akpata, however, added that the CJN’s resignation could not be divorced from the raging crisis in the Supreme Court with the 14 other Justices of the court accusing him of poor handling of the affairs of the court.
“I must do so again today as he bows out. 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.
“Beyond this, there is near-universal agreement that public confidence in the Judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low,” the statement stated.
The NBA president acknowledged the confident crisis that the Supreme Court and the Nigerian judiciary are currently plagued with.
“Beyond this, there is near-universal agreement that public confidence in the Judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low,” Mr Akpata stated.
Welcoming Mr Ariwoola as the next CJN, the NBA said his first tasks should include taking steps aimed at “urgent reforms in the Judiciary” and rebuilding “the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the Judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria.”
He also pledged NBA’s “readiness to work together with His Lordship (Mr Ariwoola) and the judiciary in cleansing the Augean Stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the Judiciary but the entire legal profession.”