Thirteen justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria shunned the inauguration of chairmen and members of the Election Petition Tribunal inaugurated by acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammed.
Only Justice Sidi Bage was at the inauguration ceremony out of the remaining 15 justices of the Supreme Court.
The justices who did not attend are Bode Rhodes-Vivour (Associate Justice), Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta (Associate Justice), Mary Odili (Associate Justice), Olukayode Ariwoola (Associate Justice), Musa Datijo Muhammad (Associate Justice), Kumai Bayang Akaahs (Associate Justice), Kudirat Kekere-Ekun (Associate Justice) John Inyang Okoro (Associate Justice), Chima Centus Nweze (Associate Justice) Amiru Sanusi (Associate Justice) Amina Adamu Augie (Associate Justice) Ejembi Eko (Associate Justice) Paul Adamu Galinje (Associate Justice).
The reason for their absence was not given but sources say it could be connected to the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as CJN.
Presiding over the inauguration, Justice Mohammed urged the 250 chairmen and members of the Election Petition Tribunals to be guided by the fear of God in the performance of their duties.
The new acting CJN, who replaced Justice Walter Onnoghen gave the charge on Saturday in Abuja during the oath taking and swearing ceremony of judicial officers appointed to oversee disputes arising from the forthcoming general elections.
“I am delighted to address you all on thid occasion of the swearing-in ceremony for the newly appointed Chairmen and members of Election Petition Tribunals for the 2019 General Elections that is around the corner.
“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 God Almighty that you will be ultimately responsible to.
“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.
“This is an ethical undertaking to justice as well as upholding the rule of law in our courts.
“As such, I implore you to discharge your onerous duty diligently and with the fear of God Almighty,’’ he said.
Muhammad also said: “the judiciary is in the trying time, you must stand to protect and uphold the integrity of this arm of government’’.
“I therefore congratulate you on this appointment and I urge you to see this assignment as a call to greater service to your nation.
“I encourage you to uphold and enhance the honour and standing of the judiciary and I pray that the Almighty God will bestow upon you strength, good health and wisdom in the performance of your duties’’, Muhammad said.