By Adenike Lucas
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the acting president has sworn in Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen as the 20th Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN.
Sir Edwin Speed was Nigeria’s first CJN. He served in that position for two years (1914-1918).
Justice Onnoghen who is to head the country’s judicial arm of government and will preside over its supreme court, was also conferred with the second highest honour of Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON at the ceremony which took place today at the presidential villa, Abuja.
The new CJN was first appointed to the Supreme Court bench in 2005.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari handed over to his vice, Professor Osinbajo before travelling to London in January.
At today’s swearing in, the Vice President commended Justice Onnoghen “on behalf of Mr. President, all members of your family and the entire judiciary.”
He said: “I believe that the choice that the people of this nation have made is a right choice indeed and I pray that you will leave up to all of the expectations indeed. I pray that the almighty God will guide and direct you as you deliver on all of the promises and expectations of the people of this nation.”
The name of the 66 year-old from Cross River State, was sent to the Senate in February following the retirement of Justice Mahmud Mohammed who attained the prescribed retirement age of 70.
Lawmakers in the Senate who were in recess had only just screened and confirmed Justice Onnoghen’s nomination this month.
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki who was present at the swearing in ceremony is confident that Justice Onnoghen would deliver his promises to reform the judiciary.
“A lot is expected of him, Usually, CJNs have a very short period of time, but he would have no excuse not to deliver on reforming the judiciary – we hope he does that and we wish him all the best.”