Justices of the Supreme Court, on Saturday, boycotted the first official assignment of Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, as he swore-in chairman and members of election petition tribunals for the coming general elections.
The maiden official assignment was coming less than 24 hours after Justice Muhammad was sworn-in as acting CJN.
He was sworn-in on Friday by President Muhammdu Buhari, following the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen on the strength of an ex-parte motion obtained from the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
However, in a dramatic turn of events, out of the remaining 16 justices of the Supreme Court, only Justice Sidi Bage was in attendance when the acting CJN was swearing-in the 250 members who would sit on the 2019 election panels inside the chambers of the Supreme Court Headquarters in Abuja.
No reason was given for the absence of the other justices of the apex court at the ceremony.
The constituted panels comprise the National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals, Governorship Election Petition Tribunals and State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals.
Justice Muhammad charged members of the tribunals to abide by the oath of office they took, saying that, “the oath is a solemn appeal to the Almighty God. Therefore, it is from this oath that your duties and responsibilities as chairmen and members of the election petition tribunals in your various places of assignment spring forth and has a binding effect.”
He charged members of the tribunals to discharge their duties diligently and with the fear of God.
According to the acting CJN, the nation’s judiciary was in a trying time and judicial officers ought to stand to protect and uphold the integrity of the judicial arm of government.
He urged them to consider their appointment to the election petition tribunals as a call to greater service to the nation.
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