The Senate on Tuesday screened and confirmed the appointment of Justice Mahmud Mohammed as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). His confirmation came after a brief screening exercise conducted on the floor of the Senate after having been accompanied there by the serving CJN, Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar.
The speed with which the CJN designate was confirmed astonished even President of the Senate, David Mark, who quickly noted that the Upper Chamber had never been this generous.
Mark however urged Mohammed not to fail to do what is right to reposition the Judiciary pointing out that “we are all conscious of the fact that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man”
Answering questions from Senators during the screening, justice Mohammed expressed support for agitation that the position of the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation be separated.
The CJN designate said there was need to separate the two positions to make way for freer dispensation of justice.
According to him, allowing one person to continue to occupy the two positions would continue to attract a lot of complain.
Mohammed also said that appointing the most senior judge as CJN was in tune with the fact that the legal profession respected seniority and discipline.
He however stated that nothing stopped the President from appointing the CJN from any state but quickly pointed out that further interference in the process of the appointing a CJN could cause discontent.
Justice Mohammed also argued against the creation of seperate courts to try corruption cases or to interprete constitution.
He explained that the problem of delay in the dispensation of justice was due to the lack of integrity among some members of the bar and the bench.
“I don’t support the creation of special courts . Even if you that, those courts are still going to be managed by human beings. No matter who you put in charge, once his integrity is not there, you cannot achieve much.
“The issue of getting cases disposed of quickly by the courts has to do with legal practitioners. Most of them lack the will to get achieve quick dispensation of justice. They do not help matters at all. They do not tell their clients the truth about the merit or otherwise of their cases but prefer to continue to allow the cases to drag and drag”