Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, sworn-in Justice Walter Onnoghen, as the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
After taking his oath of office, Onnoghen was also decorated by the Acting President with the national honour of the Grand Commander of Order of the Niger (GCON), as customary with the inauguration of CJNs.
Osinbajo also revealed that he spoke with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, and that the President had sent his good wishes to the CJN.
The Acting President believes that Justice Onnoghen is assuming the position at a crucial time in the nation’s history when many have lost confidence in the judiciary.
He therefore, urged him to use his position to revive the judiciary.
Present at the occasion were Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former CJNs members of the Federal Executive Council, Justices of the Supreme Court, his family members, among others.
The Senate had confirmed the nomination of Mr Onnoghen as the Chief Justice of Nigeria, on March 1.
The confirmation came after the House had screened him for nearly 1 hour 15 minutes.
During the screening process, Federal Lawmakers questioned him on issues of the independence of the judiciary, judicial reforms, corruption in the Judiciary, as well as disobedience of court orders.
The new CJN maintained that the independence of the judiciary would continue under his watch.
He had been in acting capacity since November 10, 2016 when President Muhammadu Buhari okayed him for the position, following the retirement of Mahmud Mohammed.
Mr Osinbajo, had sent his name to the Senate for confirmation as Chief Justice Of Nigeria on February 8, just two days before the expiration of his three –month acting tenure.
Also, the National Judicial Council (NJC), had extended Mr Onnoghen’s tenure by another three months, on the grounds that it may have been impossible for the Senate, which was on recess at the time, to reconvene and screen Onnoghen before the expiration date of his tenure.
The initial delay by President Buhari to send his name to the Senate, had been trailed by criticism and condemnation, with some alleging ethnic bias as the reason for the President’s “seeming reluctance”.
Onnoghen has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2005 and his eventual confirmation, makes him the first CJN from the southern part of the country in about 30 years.