Justice Salisu Abdullahi has been sworn in as the substantive Chief Judge (CJ) of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The event which took place after a month after Justice Abdullahi was confirmed by the Senate, was held on Monday in the Chambers of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, administered the oath of office.
Justice Muhammad noted that the delay follows the ongoing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN’s), which he noted has “regrettably crippled court activities across the country” in the last two months.
While administering the oath of office on the substantive Chief Judge, the CJN, charged the new CJ to manage the FCT Judiciary in line with the provisions of the law and the oath of office he has taken.
According to him, “The exercise that has just taken place should, in no way, be taken for granted or simply tagged as one of those usual ceremonies merely required to fulfil set procedures and obligations. Your Lordship should note that it is a solemn pledge you have made with your Creator. The entire letters and words of the oath taken must reside in a prime place of your heart and be applied conscientiously in your daily management of both human and material resources of the Federal Capital Territory Judiciary.
“This is a bond that you must engrave in the template of your heart while adjudicating in all matters that come before you, and also while responding to issues concerning your fellow judges and staff.
Impartiality, fairness, justice and equity must form the fulcrum of your administration so that your Creator will be happy with you and history will reserve an enviable place for you even when you are gone and forgotten.
“You are expected to conduct your affairs within the ambit of the law and the oath that has just been administered on you. Anything short of that will place you on a collision course with history, and God will ask you the questions that you might not be confident enough to answer,” he said.
Justice Muhammad further warned the new CJ not to condone any act of recklessness, abuse of power, and public trust, and count himself fortunate to be so entrusted with the responsibility of presiding over the affairs of the FCT Judiciary.
The CJN who expressed confidence in Justice Abdullahi added that he is optimistic the CJ would use his wealth in his new position.
He added that: “I have personal and official knowledge of my lord for a very long time as a studious and visionary judicial officer and I am confident that nothing contrary shall steer us in the face by this new status.
“I, therefore, beseech you to bring these inherent qualities to bear on your new position and never see it as an opportunity to suppress, oppress, repressor settle scores with known or imaginary enemies. You must not embark on any voyage of vendetta because your new position is not only a test of your ingenuity and administrative prowess but equally, a window to peep and gauge your level of tolerance and human relations.”
Since the retirement of Ishaq Bello as FCT CJ in January 2021, Justice Abdullahi has been in acting until yesterday.
He was nominated for the appointment by the National Judicial Council (NJC), and in April, President Muhammadu Buhari forwarded his name to the Senate for confirmation.
The request was made according to Section 256 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Abdullahi who hails from Malumfashi Local Government Area of Katsina State was called to the bar in 1984, He became the Chief Registrar of the FCT High Court in 1997, and was appointed a Judge of the FCT high court in 1998.