The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, has commiserated with the family of late former chief justice, Idris Kutigi, who died at a London hospital on Saturday.
The former CJN died after a brief illness, his son, Sani Kutuji was reported as saying, on Sunday.
In a statement by Mr Onnoghen’s spokesperson, Awassam Bassey, the CJN directed that all judiciary institutions should fly the national flag at half mast, as a mark of honour for Mr Kutigi.
“The Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, has received with sadness the news of the demise of His Lordship, the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON, who died in a London hospital on Saturday, 20th October, 2019 at the age of 78 years.
“The CJN, on behalf of the Nigerian Judiciary and, indeed, all Nigerians, commiserates with the family of the deceased former CJN and urges them to take solace in the fact that their patriarch lived to the fullness of age and served his country diligently, rising to become the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the highest office in the third arm of government.
“As a mark of deserved honour to the deceased jurist, the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria has directed that the Nigerian National Flag in the premises of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the CJN’s official residence in the Three Arms Zone of Abuja, all Judiciary institutions including the National Judicial Council (NJC), the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC), as well as all Courts of Records in the country, should be flown at half-mast for a duration of seven days.”
The statement also includes a directive for the Supreme Court registrar to open a condolence register for the late CJN.
“Similarly, the CJN has instructed the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court to open Condolence Registers at both foyers of the Court to enable Honourable Justices of the Court and other well-wishers pay their last respects to the deceased Justice Kutigi who was Chief Justice of Nigeria from 30th January, 2007 to 31st December, 2009.
“The Hon. Chief Justice prays for the peaceful repose of Hon. Mr. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi and urges God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Mr Kutigi is the third former chief justice to die in 2018.
In July, 2018 another former CJN, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, who succeeded Mr Kutigi, died.
Also in January, Mr Katsina-Alu’s successor, Dahiru Musdapher, died at the age of 75.
In his reaction to Mr Kutigi’s death, ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar described him as a great justice who avoided controversy throughout his judicial career. He said his commitment to law and justice and democracy would be remembered for years to come after his death.
Mr Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, recalled that as chairman of the 2014 National Conference, Mr Kutigi demonstrated admirable wisdom and remarkable leadership in handling such delicate national assignment.
“By successfully chairing such gathering of Nigerians from diverse backgrounds,” Mr Abubakar said, Mr Kutigi “showed a great capacity for leadership and broadminded disposition.”
The Waziri Adamawa prayed to Allah to bless and forgive the soul of the late chief justice and wished his family the strength to overcome this moment of great loss.