FHC Chief Judge, Justice Auta retires, Kafarati takes over

Federal High Court

  • CJN swears him in as acting CJ pending confirmation
  • Urges judges to shun embarrassing acts

Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta has retired from the judiciary for clocking the mandatory retirement age of 65 years.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has however sworn in the most senior judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdul Kafarati as acting chief judge of the court.

Kafarati is to perform the functions of the Chief Judge pending when his appointment is regularised or when a new chief judge is appointed.

Justice Onnoghen who swore in Kafarati as acting chief judge used the opportunity to counsel judges to shun acts capable of embarrassing the Judiciary and the nation.

Onnoghen also urged Nigerians to pray for the Judiciary because it serves to protect the nation’s unity and ensure a peaceful society.

Justice Onnoghen said: “Avoid things that will embarrass the Judiciary and embarrass you, embarrass the country and your family.

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“I know you have been trying your best in that direction, please sustain the effort. Don’t get blackmailed. Don’t get intimidated. People will talk.

“Obviously, in this society, nobody loses a case, because the law is against him.

“He loses the case because the judge does not like his face; the judge is this, the judge is that. But, the judge must be there and that judge happens to be you,” he said.

Justice Onnoghen also urged judges to be fair and always be guided by the law and Constitution.

He assured that the Judiciary will protect and support judges, who abide by their oath of office and provisions of the Constitution.

According to him: “Justice Kafarati and other judicial officers, you are particularly reminded today of your oath, which you have taken. Be guided always by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law.

“When you do that and continue to do that, you will have no problem. That will ensure justice to all and sundry, because there is nothing greater than the rule of law.

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“The scale you wield and the sword is mighty. When once you come to the conclusion that this side weighs more than that, you have to apply the legal truth, no matter whose ox is gored.

“That is the only way you can ensure justice to all. That is the only way by which the judicial powers of this nation can be properly harnessed and enforced.

“That is the only way we can ensure unity, because the sense of injustice breeds disunity. And it is our responsibility to ensure that we return to the good old days, we return to a Judiciary that commands respect

“The perception will always be there, because you don’t strive to satisfy everybody because if you do that, you would fail.

“If you do that, you will be a hypocrite. And a judicial officer is not a hypocrite.

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“It is either the man is right or wrong. Your duty is to say who is right or who is wrong. Stick to that. That is the only way by which we can go back home and sleep and, in fact, snore,” the CJN said.

Justice Onnoghen praised the retiring Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for his contributions to jurisprudence and service to the judiciary and nation.

He urged judges of the court to cooperate with Justice Kafarati to enable to improve on the court’s performance.

Justice Kafarati, born in 1954, hails from Kwami in Gombe State. He takes over from Justice Auta, who tenure ends at 12 midnight on September 16.

Justice Kafarati will continue to function in acting capacity until his nomination by the National Judicial Council (NJC) is confirmed by the President and Senate as provided in Section 250(1) of the Constitution.