Justice Muhammad Tanko, Chief Justice of Nigeria has resigned from office. Reports say he sent in his resignation letter over the weekend claiming that he was leaving on health grounds.
This is coming days after his 14 colleagues at the supreme court petitioned him on the sorry state of their welfare and the condition of service in the judicial arm of government.
The letter which was leaked to the media has generated reactions with people like Olumide Akpata, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA calling for reforms in the judiciary. The matter came up for debate in the House of Representatives, though it was stepped down because there was disagreement among legislators on the veracity of claims that the judicial sector was not well funded.
The stand of the legislators may have confirmed the accusation by Tanko’s colleagues that the fund provided by the authorities was not made available for the use of the justices. In the letter, the justices complained that though Tanko was fond of traveling with his family members he denied his colleagues the opportunity to travel with their assistants.
Mike Ozekhome, while reacting to the petition, had in an article last week said, “Some (Senators) receive between ₦10 million and ₦14 million every month. Compare that with Justices’ salary and those of Judges of High Courts, where Judges are receiving salaries of about ₦500, 000 per month, a sum that is not even enough for local government chairmen to fuel their fleet of cars”. It is not clear what will become of the complaint of the justices now.
In the meantime, Justice Kayode Ariwoola, the most senior justice may step into his shoes.