Of the 15 justices in the Supreme Court, only one, Sidi Bage and the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad were present, yesterday, when Muhammad performed his first official assignment, when he swore in the 250-member 2019 Election Petition Tribunals. No reason was given for the absence of other justices.
The ceremony took place inside the Chamber of the Supreme Court Headquarters, Abuja. The Panels comprised National Assembly Election Petition Tribunals, Governorship Election Petition Tribunals, as well as State Assembly Election Petition Tribunals.
While inaugurating the panels, Justice Muhammad tasked members to rise in defence of the judiciary against those bent on destroying it. He equally tasked them to discharge their duties with the fear of God whom they are first responsible to.
He said: “As your Lordships take the oath of office as chairmen and members of the Election Petition Tribunals, let me remind you that this oath is a solemn appeal to Almighty God.
“Therefore, it is to God Almighty that you will be ultimately responsible. 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.”
The acting CJN added that the judiciary is passing through difficult times, reason judges should protect the institution of the judiciary by upholding and enhancing the honour and standing of the judiciary.