The Transition Monitoring Group has stated that the resignation of Justice Tanko Mohammed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria shows that the judicial system is due for reform.
Muhammad’s resignation as the 17th Chief Justice of Nigeria was made public on Monday.
Though reasons for his resignation are unclear at the moment, Muhammad’s resignation followed quickly on the heels of the allegations of mismanagement of funds levelled against him by 14 justices of the Supreme Court.
The PUNCH had reported that the justices of the apex court, in a joint petition, accused the Bauchi State-born CJN of poor welfare, among other ill-treatment being meted out to them.
Reacting to the resignation, TMG chairman, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, saluted Muhammad’s courage to resign, adding that it was time for the system to undergo fundamental restructuring.
In a telephone chat with our correspondent, Rafsanjani said, “Once there is a reservation or allegation on the way they are handling things, and if they want to be clear for proper investigation, the best thing to do is to resign.
“In that context, I salute the courage that he demonstrated by resigning, just to ensure that there’s an opportunity to investigate. There’s also an opportunity to also provide a level-playing ground for the parties.
“His resignation also confirmed that the judiciary is not well. The judiciary is overdue for fundamental restructuring and reform.”
A lawyer and former second Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Monday Ubani, while commenting on the resignation, stated that plans were in place to investigate the allegation meted against Muhammad before he resigned.
Speaking to The PUNCH via phone call, Ubani said, “He was accused of impropriety and not taking care of their welfare. The Body of Benchers made a motion to intervene. I also understand that the National Assembly – the chairman of the committee of the judiciary in the Senate – was mandated to interfere with the warring parties in order to see how to resolve the issue. All these were in place before this resignation that was announced today (Monday).”
Hours after Muhammad’s resignation went public, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), swore in Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja.