BY JUDE OCHANG
Justice Walter Onnoghen has been sworn in as the 17th Chief Justice of Nigeria by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, witnessed by the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; former CJNs, members of the Federal Executive Council; Justices of the Supreme Court and his family members among others.
Shortly after taking his oath of office, Osinbajo decorated Onnoghen with the second highest national honours of the Grand Commander of Order of the Niger.
Following the constitutional provisions, Onnoghen’s name was sent to the Senate on February 7, 2017 by Acting President Osinbajo for confirmation The senate on Wednesday last week screened and confirmed his nomination.
By his confirmation, Onnoghen who hails from Cross River State has become the 17th Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN. Speaking at the brief swearing-in ceremony which took place at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo reminded the new CJN of the enormous task ahead of him, saying the fate of millions of Nigerians were now placed in his hands for justice.
Similarly, the new CJN pledged to uphold the rule of law and ensure the independence of the judiciary. Onnoghen will be the 20th person to occupy the position since 1914, according to judiciary records. Sixty-six year-old Walter Samuel Onnoghen has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria since 2005.
He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to succeed, in acting capacity, Justice Mahmood Muhammed in November last year. He graduated from the University of Ghana at Legon, Ghana in 1977 and from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos in 1978.
Before joining the Supreme Court, he was a judge in Cross River State and a justice of the Court of Appeal. Onnoghen was born on the 22 December 1950 at Okurike Town, Biase local government area of Cross Rivers State.