After some hours of denial and confusion, Ahuraka Yusuf Isah, Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, on Monday confirmed to The PUNCH the resignation of the CJN.
He said, “The latest information is that the CJN has resigned; I spoke with somebody very close to him and he said he has resigned.”
There had been confusion in the media over the purported resignation of the CJN.
Isah had said, “All I know is that he’s going to declare open a workshop this morning at the NJI (National Judicial Institute).”
Several calls to his 1981 classmate in Law School, Dr. Mike Ozekhome (SAN).were not replied.
Last week, CJN officially reacted to the allegations of uncaring attitude levelled against him by his brother Justices in the apex Court.
In his first official reaction made public on Tuesday in Abuja, the CJN admitted that the Supreme Court like any other establishment in the country has been hit by a devastating economic crunch.
As a result of the economic crunch, the CJN said that the leadership of the court under him could no longer meet some of its obligations to Justices, especially in the area of welfare.
He however said that the memo sent to him by the aggrieved Justices notwithstanding, there is no rift between him on one side and the Justices of the court on the other side.
The reaction was contained in a statement issued by Isah titled, “State of affairs in the Supreme Court and demand by Justices Of The Supreme Court.”
The statement reads in part, “The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon Justice Ibrahim Tanko Mohammad would wish to confirm receipt of letter written and addressed to him by his brother Justices of the Supreme Court Bench.
“Judges in all climes are to be seen and not heard, and that informed why the CJN refrained from joining issues until a letter, said to be personal, is spreading across the length and breadth of the society.
This was akin to dancing naked at the market square by us with the ripple effect of the said letter. The Supreme Court definitely does not exist outside its environment, it is also affected by the economic and socio-political climate prevailing in the country. Besides that, the Apex Court has to a larger extent, been living to its constitutional responsibility.
“When a budget is made, it contains two sides, that’s the recurrent and the capital, yet all the two are broken down into items. The Federal Government releases the budget based on the budget components. And it’s an offence to spend the money meant for one item for another.
Take for instance, the Supreme Court budgeted this year to re-roof and rehabilitate its complex built over 30 years ago and that is being done.
“The work on the extension of the complex is near completion, the esthetic lawns and cleanness of the perimeters are being well kept, and security and water supply are adequately provided for his brother Justices in their offices and residences.
During the period of the pandemic, a profound and extra-care was maintained to avoid causalities among them as well as the staff generally. It would have amounted to an act of irresponsibility to divert money meant for the above for otherwise.
“The accusation so far, in summary, is that more or all ought to have been done and not that nothing has been done; which is utopian in the contemporary condition of our country.
Before eight new Justices were appointed in 2020 onto the Apex Court bench, there was no additional budget to provide new chambers with an equipped library, legal assistance, residential accommodations and logistics for them.
“The Apex Court has to make do with the resources at its disposal to meet their needs over time. All the Justices of this Court have at least a legal Assistant, except some may opt for more.”