Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad was yesterday inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari as the 18th Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).
Speaking with State House reporters, Justice Muhammad said that his tenure will assist the executive arm of government more in the fight against corruption.
He said: “Well, we are supporting the government in fighting corruption because we interpret the law and we come with better interpretation even if there is any case, which is pending, and I tell you that we have been speeding up any case that has to do with allegation of corruption, we speed it up so that if somebody is required to go to jail, he will go to jail and that is the end of it.
“And we would see that all these transcend down to the lower epoch of the judiciary so that even the Area Courts, Magistrates’ Courts will see what we do and they would be bound by what we do.
“And I’m telling you that the judiciary under my watch, by God’s grace, would be better and the issues of all these kinds of corruption I will ask you people or any other person who knows about it to please let him write to me or let him have contact with me and tell me.
“But remember, the thing that is difficult is when we ask you to substantiate you must be able to substantiate. Don’t just make a hollow allegation that we have heard….; we have done…..’.
“Be sure that you are quite in possession of your facts; you will be able to establish when we ask you to establish your allegation and we will deal with it.”
Muhammad said he would like to see the judiciary as the world’s best in the world.
He added: “But you see, we are still learning – but I’m proud to say that Nigerian judiciary, I’m sure, is one of the best in Africa.
“Now, if you take a look at judicial officers – all of us are fully trained and all of us are almost, at interval, going on courses so that we remind ourselves of the ethics that is binding on us.
“Of course, once it was dented, but you see many people don’t know what is really happening – anytime you allow anyone go-between – now there are people who are posing themselves as go-between, that is between a judge and perhaps somebody who is standing trial.
“Don’t ever believe in that kind of thing except, it’s told to him in the court, don’t believe in any subterranean way. Wait, let them tell you this is the position of the law.
“This is what is happening. Some people are going round asking for money here and there. I’m sure any Judge or any justice who is in his real sense can never ask somebody to go and collect money for him because he knows that he is being paid by government for what he does.
“Anybody who is not satisfied with the job and he wants money the judiciary or judicial line is not a place for money-making.
“Judicial is a line whereby you make a lot of name and you do what the law asks you to do and this is what we have been doing,” he said.
Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed said he was happy that an indigene of the state was appointed to serve in such an exalted position.
He said: “We feel very excited by this very auspicious appointment of our elder brother who has distinguished himself as a jurist, somebody of very high integrity.
“The whole state where I represent is excited by his appointment and indeed the country because he is going to bring pedigree, professionalism and excellence to the judiciary.”
House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila said that everything was set for the nation to move to the next level with the swearing in of a substantive CJN.
Stressing that there will be checks and balances, he said the three arms of government will also complement one another.
Justice Muhammad, who took over from Justice Walter Onnoghen, was screened and cleared by the Senate last week.
He had been holding the job in acting capacity since January following the suspension of Justice Onnoghen over some infractions discovered in his assets declaration form and subsequent arraignment at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCB) by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The CJN inauguration was witnessed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; House Speaker Gbajabiamila; Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege; Inspector General (IG) Mohammed Adamu; Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum; Mohammed; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha; President’s Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoCSF) Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.