25th January, 2018
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen, on Thursday received the remains of former CJN, Justice Dahiru Musdapher at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Senior Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Mr Wassam Bassey in a statement, said the remains of Justice Musdapher arrived the airport at 4.30 a.m. into the waiting hands of the Onnoghen, family of the deceased and senior members of the legal profession.
Onnoghen had advised the family of the deceased to be consoled.
The CJN said the the late jurist had the honour and privilege of serving his country at the highest level of the judicial arm of government.
The CJN told the family and associates of the late jurist to accept his demise as the will of God.
Onnoghen has earlier directed all flags within the Supreme Court and all judicial institutions to fly at half mast till the end of fidda’u which is the seven-day prayer.
The CJN cancelled an even on Thursday for the inauguration of a six committees in the National Judicial Council (NJC) to allow management and other staff to pay their last respect to departed Musdapher.
Musdapher passed on early hours of Jan. 23 in a London hospital after a protracted illness.
The late jurist retired from the bench five years ago on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 70.
He hailed from Bani Ya’muusa clan in Babura town in Babura Local Government Area of Jigawa State.
On Jan. 27, 2012 , Justice Musdapher led other justices to deliver a landmark judgment, removing five state governors from office, among others.
The court said the tenures of Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State, Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa, Ibrahim Idris of Kogi and Liyel Imoke of Cross River expired on May 29, 2011 and that their stay in office ever since was illegal.
The court ordered the Speakers of the affected state houses of assemblies to take over as acting governors until new helmsmen are installed.
The implication of this judgment is not clear given that the Independent National Electoral Commission has already conducted a fresh governorship election in Kogi and was already planning to conduct those of Adamawa, Sokoto, Bayelsa and Cross River.
The five governors had had their elections nullified.
Fresh elections were conducted, and the governors ran to court to challenge INEC’s insistence that in spite of the reruns, their tenure would end on May 29, 2011.
The governors prevailed at both the high and appellate courts, victories that enabled them to hang on to power, as the electoral body excluded their states from the governorship elections conducted last year.
INEC did not give up the fight.
It approached the apex court to challenge the judgments of the lower courts.