President Buhari mourns former Chief Justice Idris Kutigi who dies at 78

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By DAVID IORJA

 President Muhammadu Buhari has extended heartfelt condolences to the Kutigi family on the passing of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), the Honourable Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, GCON.

In a statement on Sunday by Femi Adesina, his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity), President Buhari also commiserated with members of the judiciary and legal profession, the government and people of Niger State on the death of the eminent jurist, who was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1992 and named as Chief Justice in 2007.

The President joined them in mourning the elder statesman who will be long remembered and honoured for his visionary roles and contributions in the advances our country has made towards building a strong, independent and impartial judiciary, which is sine qua non for democracy to thrive.

According to the statement, “throughout his career in the apex court, President Buhari believes that the former CJN’s bold and articulate judicial decisions, advocacies on access to justice for all and protection of judicial independence are extant signposts for the advancement of the noble profession in the country and beyond.

The President urges all who mourn the late jurist to honour his memory by working for a better and just society, in addition to upholding the virtues associated with him during his lifetime of long and dedicated service to the nation.”

The President prayed almighty God to comfort Kutigi’s family, friends and associates and grant eternal rest to the soul of the departed.

Niger state commissioner for Information, Danjuma Sallau said Kutigi died in a London Hospital at 78, two months short of his 79th birthday

Idris Legho Kutigi was the chief justice of Nigeria between 2007 and 2009 and after retirement, he was made the chairman of the Constitutional Conference set up by the Jonathan administration in 2014.

Kutigi was born on 31 December 1939 in Kutigi, Lavun local government of Niger State.

He began his early education in the town and later had his secondary education in Bida and Barewa College in Zaria.

He also graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, after which he left for England, where he studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Gibson and Weldon, before returning to attend the Nigerian Law School in Lagos.

Justice Kutigi served as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Niger State until 1976, when he was appointed high court judge.

He was on the bench in Niger for more than 10 years before his appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court in 1992.

He became the chief justice in 2007, succeeding Justice Alfa Belgore.

He retired on 30 December 2009 and did the unusual by swearing in his successor, Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, who died in July. He did so because President Umaru Yar’Adua was not in the country at the time, due to ill-health.

 

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