The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, will finally, inaugurate Husseini Baba-Yusuf as the acting Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, on Monday, the National Judicial Council (NJC) said in a statement on Saturday.
Monday will make the 16th day since the office has been vacant after the sudden resignation of the former FCT Chief Judge, Garba Salisu.
President Muhammadu Buhari created the unprecedented vacuum in the FCT judiciary by embarking on a foreign medical trip to the United Kingdom without transmitting power to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
In the absence of Mr Buhari who jetted out of the country with the reins of power on July 26, Mr Osinbajo could not give the constitutionally required approval for the appointment of the FCT Chief Judge.
PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported how Mr Buhari, who returned to Nigeria on Friday after spending 18 days in London, had created the unprecedented vacuum in the office of the FCT Chief Judge for 10 days as of Tuesday.
Lawyers, including human rights activist, Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who spoke with our reporter, criticised Mr Buhari for throwing the FCT judiciary into a state of needless uncertainties for over a week with his failure to hand over power to his deputy to handle exigencies such as the sudden vacancy in the FCT Chief Judge’s office.
The PREMIUM TIMES’ report detailed how Mr Buhari’s tardy handling of the appointment sits well with his pattern of lukewarmness towards many of NJC’s recommendations on appointment and disciplinary matters.
Mr Buhari appears to have only given his approval hours after returning from the London trip.
The NJC’s Director of Information, Soji Oye, said in a statement on Saturday that Mr Baba-Yusuf’s inauguration as the acting Chief Judge followed Mr Buhari’s approval based on the council’s earlier recommendation.
The new acting Chief Judge’s appointment will be backdated to August 1, when the office became vacant, the NJC statement added.
The former Chief Judge, Mr Salisu, who was due for retirement before the end of the year, had suddenly resigned to take up an appointment as the Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, the Nigerian judiciary’s training institute for judges and employees.
Incoming acting Chief Judge
The 59-year-old incoming acting Chief Judge, Mr Baba-Yusuf, was born in Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State on June 1, 1962
His profile share with our reporter by an official of the court shows that he attended LGEA Primary School, Ankpa, from 1966 to 1971.
He also attended St Charles College between 1972 to 1976.
He had his A Level education at the School of Basic Studies, Ugbokolo, Benue State, from 1977 to 1980.
He gained admission into the University of Lagos in 1980, and obtained the LLB in 1983.
He proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar 1984.
He thereafter underwent the national youth service organised by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) which he completed ib 1985.
Mr Baba-Yusuf began his legal career by joinning the services of the Kogi State judiciary in 1985 as Magistrate Grade II and rose through the rank, becoming the Chief Registrar of the state High Courti in 1993.
He later joined the services of the FCT Judiciary on transfer of service same year, and was appointed High Court Judge in 1998.
He has since been on the FCT High Court bench and rose to become the most senior judge after Mr Salisu’s resignation.
Mr Salisu’s resignation paved the way for him to be appointed the acting Chief Judge
If eventually confirmed as the substantive Chief Judge and barring any unforseen events, the 59-year-old Baba-Yusuf will be the FCT judiciary’s helmsman till his attainment of the retirement age of 65 in six years’ time.
He currently handles high-profile corruption cases, including the celebrated trial of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, with others accused of diverting funds meant for arms procurement under the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
READ NJC’s FULL STATEMENT:
13th August, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Hon. Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf as the Acting Chief Judge of the High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council.
The Acting appointment takes effect from 1 August 2021.
Hon Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf will be sworn-in by the Honourable, The Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, Hon. Dr. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, CFR, on Monday 16 August 2021 by 10.00 am at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
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