By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Saturday, swore-in Justice Abdu Kafarati as the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court.
Kafarati, who hails from Kwami in Gombe State, took over from Justice Ibrahim Auta whose tenure will expire by midnight when he woud have clocked the 65 years mandatory retirement age for judicial officers within his cadre.
Meantime, the CJN, who performed the swearing-in ceremony at the Supreme Court main courtroom, enjoined the Acting CJ to avoid anything capable of causing embarrassment to the judiciary.
He said the new CJ should always stick to the path of justice, stressing that the Federal High Court plays very critical role in the Nigerian jurisprudence.
“Don’t get blackmailed or intimidated. People must always talk, but ensure that you do the right thing always.
“You are particularly reminded today of your oath as a judicial officer. Be guided always by the constitution that you have sworn to and the law. Doing so will ensure justice to all and sundry through the rule of law.
“The scale you wield and the sword is mighty. You must be fair to all. A sense of injustice breeds dis-unity and it is our responsibility to ensure that we return to the good old days by restoring the pride and confidence people had in the judiciary.
“Your duty is to say this is right and this is wrong. Stick to it. That is the only way you can sleep well and snore at night.
“The Federal High Court is a very critical court in the jurisprudence of Nigeria. It is very strategic”, the CJN noted.
He said the swearing-in was done during the weekend to avoid a vacuum in the leadership of the high court.
“That is why we are here today. Even if it has not been done before it has been done now”, the CJN jokingly added.
While imploring other judges of the high court to grant maximum cooperation to the Acting CJ, Justice Onnoghen commended the retired CJ, saying history will remember him for good.
The Acting CJ who was born in 1954, became a judge of the Federal High Court on October 31, 1991.