A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysious Katsina-Alu, is dead.
He was 76 years old.
Information provided to PREMIUM TIMES by multiple sources on Wednesday morning said Mr Katsina-Alu died after a brief illness in a hospital in Abuja.
Awassam Bassey, the special assistant on media to the current CJN, Walter Onnoghen, confirmed Mr Katsina-Alu’s death.
Mr Bassey said he received a text message from the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Hadizat Mustapha, regarding the death of Mr Katsina-Alu on Wednesday morning.
Ms Mustapha also told PREMIUM TIMES that the petsonal assistant to the former CJN informed her of the death of the judge via a text message.
Edward Ashiekaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and close associate of the late CJN, also confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES.
He added, “It is a great loss to Nigeria as a whole. He was a great judge for the time he lived.
“I remember the case of Ameachi-Omehia. We celebrated it. That was a groundbreaking decision. Very courageous, very bold.
“You recall the circumstances that resulted in Ameachi becoming the governor of Rivers. Omehia was not a candidate of the PDP. Ameachi was the candidate.
“The election was held and Omehia was subsequently sworn in as governor. That was a pre-election matter. So the matter finally ended up at the Supreme Court. He was very sound, Ameachi never prayed at the trial court that he should be made the governor of Rivers state in place of Omehia.
“But Justice Katsina-Alu boldly came out and said, no! There must be a remedy. Though he did not ask for it, a consequential order had to be made. That was the first time a sitting governor was removed. And somebody who didn’t even contest, his name was not on the ballot paper was sworn in as the governor.
“Justice Katsina-Alu chaired the panel that gave that landmark judgment.”
Mr Katsina-Alu was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1968, a year after his call to the British bar in 1967.
He became a member of the bench in 1979.
From Ushongo in Benue State, Mr Katsina-Alu was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1998 and became the Chief Justice of Nigeria in 2009.