S’Court justices didn’t write petition against Tanko – Ariwoola clarifies

The new Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, has dismissed insinuations that any crisis existed among justices of the Supreme Court, as a leaked memo to the immediate past CJN, Mohammed Tanko, appeared to have suggested.

Ariwoola, who was confirmed as CJN by the Senate, yesterday, made the clarification while responding to questions from lawmakers during his screening.

Flanked by lawmakers, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Opeyemi Bamidele, had expressed concern over the embarrassment caused Nigerians by the purported petition written to Tanko by 15 other justices of the Supreme Court in June.

Ariwoola, however, said: “Justices of the Supreme Court didn’t write a petition to or against Tanko as CJN, few months back, but sent a memo where issues relating to welfare of each of the justices and lack of suitable working environment at the Supreme Court, generally, were raised.

“We, the justices, were embarrassed when we read the content of our memo in the papers. It was never intended to be for public consumption, since the motive behind the memo was not to fight or bring down anybody.

“When the handwritten memo was signed by all the Justices, we didn’t allow anybody to see it, making its leakage to the media look like a miracle to us.”He, nevertheless, noted that most of the issues raised in the memo have not yet been attended to due to paucity of funds.

He said: “Some of the justices appointed in 2020 have not got official accommodation, making them to be coming to office from satellite towns within the Federal Capital Territory.

“The judiciary must be properly funded. We should not beg for our entitlements. More Justices need to be appointed as, out of 21 needed in the Supreme Court, only 13 are left. And for expeditious consideration of cases, some of the cases should be allowed to stop at the Court of Appeal through Constitution amendment.”

He added: “The National Assembly should, please, help in this regard by carrying out required Constitution amendment.”

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