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Friday, 13 July 2012

Nigeria Gets 1st Female CJN

Justice Mariam Aloma Mukhtar scores another 1st as the first woman to step in as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.

How welcome is this development? Reactions from different quarters have welcomed the development and the NUJ specifically sees the appointment of Justice Muhktar as a great step in the right direction noting that with the present involvement of women in governance, implementation of the affirmative action would increase to about 45 per cent.

This Woman of Substance is the first female judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court on June 8, 2005.  She is the first female Northerner to become a lawyer.

Her appointment will make her the 13th head of the nation's judiciary since the appointment of Chief Justice Adetokunbo Ademola, the first CJN, who held the post from 1958-1972.Mukthar was called to the Nigerian Bar on June 26, 1967. By September 24, 1987, she became the first female to be sworn into the Court of Appeal.

She attended St. George's Primary School, Zaria, St. Bartholomew's School, Wusasa, Zaria, Rossholme School for Girls, East Brent, Somersets, England, Reading Technical College, Reading, Berkshire England, Gibson and Weldon College of Law and was called to the English Bar in Absentia in November, 1966.

Justice Muktar is life member of the Federation of Women Lawyers. She was also the Vice President of the National Association of Women Judges of Nigeria. In 1989, Muktar was honoured by the Federation of Women Lawyers and in 1991 she was decorated with a Gold Merit Award by the Kano State government.

In 2003, she was honoured by the International Association of Women Lawyers, and in 2004, the Fellowship of the Nigerian Law School was conferred on her.

Born in Kano on November 20, Justice Muktar had her primary education at St. George’s School, Zaria and also at St. Bartholomews’s school, Wusasa, also in Zaria from 1950 and 1957.  She also attended Rossholme School for Girls in East Brent, Somerset, England for her GCE O’ Levels in 1962 and went for further education at the Technical College, Berkshire England.

She graduated from Gibson and Welder College in law in 1966 and was subsequently called to the English Bar in absentia. She was called to the Nigerian Bar on June 26, 1967.

She paved the way for other women to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Olufunlola Oyelola Adekeye, got the attention of the National Judicial Council (NJC) which has the responsibility of recommending qualified judicial officers for the position 4 years after Justice Muhktar and Justice Mary Odili followed in 2011.

Two questions remain unanswered…what is the rationale behind appointing 68year old Justice Muhktar who will eventually take a bow when she turns 70!

She has vowed to flush out corrupt Judges…will she get a “free hand” to make this happen?

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