List of Supreme Court Justices in Nigeria Including the Chief Justice

The Supreme Court Justices in Nigeria are currently 13 in number including the Chief Justice. The Nigerian constitution stipulates that the supreme court justices be 21 in number including the chief justice. These justices are appointed by the President of Nigeria under the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC), and with the approval of the Nigerian Senate.

For the appointment as a justice, there are certain criteria one must attain. Firstly, the individual must be a qualified lawyer who has practiced law in Nigeria; and secondly, he must have been in the practice for at least 15 years. If appointed, the retirement age is 70 years.

Below is a complete list of the 13 supreme court justices in Nigeria and details about them.

List of the 13 Supreme Court Justices in Nigeria

1. Hon. Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola (Chief Justice)

Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 22nd August 1954
  • Age: 69 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 22nd November 2011
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal (2005 to 2011)

Chief Justice Ariwoola was born on 22nd August 1954 in Iseyin, Oyo State. He attended Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole for his primary school, Muslim Modern School, and Ansar-Ud-Deen High School, Shaki for his secondary school, all in Oyo State, Nigeria.

For his university education, Olukayode attended the University of Ife, Osun State, where he bagged his law degree. In July 1981 he was called to the Nigerian bar and became an advocate and solicitor of the Nigerian Supreme Court.

From the start of his career up to date, Justice Ariwoola has occupied several positions in his career. During his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), he served as a State Counsel under the Ministry of Justice, Ondo State. He served as the Legal Officer in the Ministry of Justice in Oyo State. In 1988, when he left the state service for private practice, he worked as a counsel in the chambers owned by Chief Ladosu Ladapo.

In 1989, Ariwoola started his chambers called Olukayode Ariwoola & Co in Oyo State. Then he received an appointment to serve as a Judge in Oyo State Judiciary. And before he was appointed justice of the Supreme Court, he served as the Justice of the Court of Appeal in the Lagos, Enugu, and Kaduna Divisions. Ariwoola was appointed as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 22nd November 2011. More than a decade later, he became the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the 27th of June 2022.

In addition to his work experience so far, in 1992, the Chief Justice served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, of Phonex Motors Ltd – one of the investment conglomerates called Oodua Investment. He also served as the Chairman of the Armed Robbery Tribunal in Oyo State between May 1993 and September 1996 when he was posted out of the headquarters, Ibadan to Saki High Court.

2. Musa Dattijo Muhammad

Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 27th October 1953
  • Age: 70 years old
  • Date of Appointment: July 2012
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal

Musa Muhammad Dattijo was born on 27th October 1953 in Chanchaga LGA, Minna. He attended Native Authority school, Minna; Sheik Sabbah College for his secondary school. Then he attended Abdullahi Bayero College (now called Bayero University) for a one-year pre-degree program. He acquired his LLB (Hons) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

In 1977, Datijo was called to bar and he proceeded to do his LLM at Warwick University Coventry in the United Kingdom. He also attended the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies where he acquired an Advanced Certificate in Practice Procedure.

After he completed his studies, and before carrying out his mandatory NYSC program, Dattijo worked as the Higher Registrar at the High Court of Justice in Minna in 1976. He went to the NYSC program from 1977 to 1978. After that, he was appointed Magistrate Grade II in 1978 and became the Chief Magistrate in 1984.

In 1986, Dattijo was then appointed as the Chief Registrar, and in 1989 as the Judge of the Niger State High Court. Between 1998 and 2010, Hon Justice Dattijo served as Justice of the Court of Appeal, presiding Justice of Sokoto Division Court of Appeal, and Presiding Justice of Port Harcourt Division.

Dattijo was appointed as a Supreme Court Justice in July 2012. Muhammad was honored by President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2022 as the Commander of the order of the Federal Republic (CFR).

3. Kudirat Kekere-Ekun

image source</a
  • Date of birth: 7th May 1958
  • Age: 65 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 2013
  • Previous Office: Judge of the court of appeal (2004 to 2013)

Kudirat Kekere-Ekun was born on 7th May 1958 to the family of Alhaji Senator H. A. B. Fasinro and Mrs. Winifred Layiwola Ogundimu in London (the United Kingdom). She is from Lagos State, Nigeria. Kudirat was privileged to attend a private primary school after which she attended Queen’s College in Lagos State for her secondary school education.

She got her Law degree from the University of Lagos from 1977 to 1980 and was called to the Nigerian bar on 10th July 1981; after which she went for a mandatory NYSC in Benin City from 1981 to 1982. The Justice relocated to London where she obtained her Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political science in 1983.

She worked in a private firm after her Master’s degree for a few years before applying and was appointed to a bench by the Lagos State Judiciary as a senior magistrate II in December 1989. Later, she was appointed a Judge in the State High Court of Lagos on 19th July 1996. Subsequently, she rose to become a Justice of the Court of Appeal on 22nd September 2004. During her time as a justice of the Court of Appeal, Kudirat was a member of the Court’s ICT Committee starting in June 2011 and ending in July 2013. She was appointed one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 8th of June 2013.

4. Chima Centus Nweze

Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 25th September 1958
  • Age: 65 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 29th October 2014
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal (2008 – 2014)

Chima Centus Nweze is a Nigerian jurist and justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court. He was born on 25th September 1958 in Enugu State, Nigeria. Nweze hails from Obollo in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State. In 1983, Chima got his LLB (Hons) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Later in 1984, he acquired his BL from the Nigerian Law School. In 1995, Nweze acquired an MSc in Law and in 2001, a Ph.D. in Law, all from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Chima Centus Nweze was appointed the Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 29th October 2014. Before his appointment, he served as a justice of the Court of Appeal from 2008 to 2014. He also engaged in private practice from 1985 to 1995 before returning to public service. After his return in 1995, Chima was appointed to the High Court Bench in Enugu State. While a judge, he chaired and was a member of many committees including the Second Robbery and Firearms Tribunal in Enugu, the Robbery and Firearms Tribunal in Nsukka, etc.

Justice Chima Nweze has worked in many capacities in the judicial and extra-judicial vocational activities of the country. He was a Member of the DFID Access to Justice Programme in Enugu State. Also a Team Member in the Enugu State Sector Strategic Plan; a Member of the National Working Group on the Reform of Criminal Justice Administration; a Member of OSIWARD C Expert Consultative Forum on Federal Budget Act; Hon Consultant at PATHS-DFID under the District Health System Law/Regulations; and Facilitator of the Enugu State Justice Sector Reform Team.

5. Amina Adamu Augie

image source</a
  • Date of birth: 3rd September 1953
  • Age: 70 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 7th November 2016
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal

Justice Amina Adamu Augie (Anne Eva Graham) was born on 3rd September 1953. She is a native of Kebbi State, Nigeria. Amina attended several schools as she moved a lot during her school days. She first attended Abadina School, University College Ibadan from 1958 to 1960. Then from 1960 to 1962, she went to Hope Waddell Primary School, Calabar. From there, Amina enrolled at Holy Rosary Primary School, Enugu from 1966 to 1967.

For her secondary school. she attended Queen Amina College, Kaduna from 1968 to 1971. When she was done with secondary school, Amina got admission into the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, where she studied Law from 1972 to 1977. After she graduated from the university, Augie went to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, and was called to the Nigerian Bar on 8th July 1978.

Justice Augie started her career as a Legal Aid Counsel at the Legal Aid Council, Sokoto, while she was undergoing the mandatory National Youth Service Corps from 1978 to 1979. She was so good that after her service, she was made head of the Legal Aid Council.

Amina also worked with Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria as an Assistant Lecturer. Later on, between 1982 and 1984, she worked in the Office of the Chief Counsel to the then-president, President Alhaji Shehu Shagari. She was later appointed and served as a Lecturer by the Nigerian Law School, Lagos.

In 1988 Amina Adamu Augie was elevated to a Chief Magistrate in the Sokoto State Judiciary. And while she was serving at the Bench, her passion for academics moved her to accept employment as a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto. She worked there from 1989 to 1992 on a part-time basis. Also, Amina worked as an Associate Lecturer for three years at Uthman Danfodio University from September 1999 to September 2002.

In 2002, Augie was elevated to the level of the Court of Appeal Bench. And while she was still there, she worked in various divisions. She was appointed as a Presiding Justice in the Benin Division from 2009 to 2010; Enugu Division from 2010 to 2011; Kaduna Division from 2011 to 2012; Lagos Division from 2012 to 2016. On 7th November 2016,  Justice Amina Adamu was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

6. Uwani Musa Abba Aji

Supreme Court Justices Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 7th November 1956
  • Age: 67 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 8th January 2019
  • Previous Office: Justice Court of Appeal

Uwani Musa Abba Aji is one of the justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. She was born on 7th November 1956 in Gashua, Yobe State. Uwani had her primary education at Central Primary School, Gashua, Yobe State. She further obtained her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) at the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Maiduguri.

For her university education, Abba attended Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where she studied and received her diploma in law in 1976 and LL.B (Hons) in 1980. She was called to the Nigerian Bar the following year (1981).

Abba’s career began in 1982 when she served as an Acting Senior Counsel. She was later appointed as Senior Magistrate I in 1987, and subsequently Chief Magistrate II in 1989. Musa was appointed Chief Magistrate I in 1991 and Chief Registrar in November 1991. Further, she became the first Lady Judge of the High court of Yobe State on 18th December 1991. Also, she was promoted on 22nd September 2004 to the Court of Appeal. On 8th January 2019, Uwani Musa Abba Aji was made a Justice in the Supreme Court.

Since her career as a lawyer and justice of the high court and the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abba Aju has been part of many committees and groups. Some of these committees are the Potiskum Judicial Disturbances Commission of inquiry; the Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Borno State Branch; Mobile Traffic Court, Borno State; Damaturu/Potiskum Judicial Commission of Inquiry; National Legal Adviser of FOMWAN; National Association of Women Judges (NAWJN), Amairah of the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Justices Welfare Committee of the Court of Appeal.

7. John Inyang Okoro

image source</a
  • Date of birth: 11th July 1959
  • Age: 64 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 15th November 2013
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal (2006 to 2013)

John Inyang Okoro was born on 11th July 1959 in Nung Ukim, Ikono Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. He attended Methodist School, Nung Ukim for his primary school. For his secondary school, he attended Boys High School, Oron. Then he went to the School of Arts and Science Uyo. For his university education, he attended the University of Lagos from 1981 to 1984. After his university, he attended the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.

Inyang started his legal career by working as a Grade 11 Magistrate in 1986. Then he was to the post of Chief Magistrate Grade 1. From there, he was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, where he served from 1998 to 2006. Okoro was elevated to the Court of Appeal in 2006 and he served there till 2013. On 15th November 2013, Inyang Okoro was appointed as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

See also  Bianca Ojukwu Biography: Who is She, What is Her Age and Where is She From?

Okoro has served in several capacities and bodies over the years. He has served as a Member of the Election Petition Tribunal in Kano, the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal No.2 Delta State, and the Governorship and Legislative Houses Election Petition Tribunal in Ondo State. In addition, Inyang has attended several workshops, seminars, and conferences nationally and internationally.

8. Mohammed Lawal Garba

image source</a
  • Date of birth: 16th N November 1958
  • Age: 65 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 6th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal

Mohammed Lawal Garba was born on 16th November 1958. He is a Native of Gusau Local Government Area in Zamfara State. Lawal attended Demonstration Primary School, Maru. For his secondary school education, he attended Government Secondary School, Gusau, Zamfara State. And for his university education, from 1976 to 1977, he attended the School of Basic Studies at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Then from 1977 to 1980, he studied Law under the Faculty of Law at A.B.U, Zaria. He went to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos, and the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) Akoka, Lagos State. Mohammed Lawal Garba was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1981.

Mohammed Lawal Garba kicked off his legal career in 1981 with his mandatory National Youth Service (NYSC) service at the Nigerian Airforce Headquarters, Lagos State. After that, he variously served as a Magistrate in the Sokoto State Judiciary and as the Deputy Chief Registrar of the High Court of Justice in Sokoto State. He was then appointed Solicitor-General/Director-General under the Ministry of Justice Sokoto State. Later, he was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Justice in Sokoto State.

Garba served as the Chief Judge of the High Court of Justice in Zamfara State before being appointed as a Justice to the Court of Appeal. He served as the Presiding Justice at the Calabar, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Lagos Divisions of the Court between 2010 and 2020. On 6th November 2020, Lawal was appointed as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

In the course of his service as one of the justices of the Supreme Court in Nigeria, Garba has chaired and been a member of many committees. Some of these committees are the Presidential Election Panel in 2019 as chairman; the Body of Benchers committee from 1996 to 2004, the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute (NJI) from 1996 to 2004, the Body of Benchers from 2010 to date, Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC) from 1997 to 1999, and Presidential Election Panel in 2011.

9. Helen Morenkeji Ogunwumiju

Supreme Court Justices Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 23rd March 1957
  • Age: 66 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 6th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Justice Court of Appeal

Helen Morenkeji Ogunwumiju (Helen Moronkeji Adegbie) was born to Mr. H. M. Adegbie and Mrs. M. A. Adegbie on 23rd March 1957 in Ondo City, Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria. She got her First School Leaving Certificate in 1972 from Adekile Goodwill Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Then she attended Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan, from where she obtained her Higher School Certificate in 1974. Further, Helen enrolled at the University of Lagos where she got her Law degree in 1977. She was called to the Nigerian Bar the next year after finishing the required program at the Nigerian Law School.

Justice Helen went for the mandatory NYSC in 1978 at Old Gongola State. From 1979 to 1981, she worked briefly under the Ondo State Government. Moving on, Helen worked with the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria from 1981 to 1990, and she was promoted to the rank of Assistant Director. She worked towards and saw to the establishment of Legal Aid Offices and Programs in Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Lagos, and other states in Nigeria.

From there, she moved to the Bench in 1991 when she was made a Chief Magistrate of Oyo State. And she served in this capacity in Igboora, Ile-Ife, Ibadan, Eruwa, and Oyo Magisterial Districts. Then in 1996, she served as a Secretary to the Judicial Service Committee in Oyo State. She rose from Probate Registrar to State Sheriff, and then Chief Registrar of Oyo State in 1997. As Chief Registrar Helen instituted the Records Unit of the Court for archiving and proper documentation of court records.

In 1998, Helen was appointed as a High Court Judge in Ondo State. She chaired the Investigative Board of Enquiry in the Produce Department in 2000. Then she was a Member of the Election Petition Tribunal, Taraba State, and First Presidential Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice. She helped in the production of the first draft of the Administration of Criminal Justice Bill (now an Act).

Helen Morenkeji Ogunwumiju was promoted to the Nigerian Court of Appeal in November 2005. While at the Court of Appeal, Ogunwumiju worked in the Owerri, Benin, Ilorin, Lagos, and Enugu Divisions of the Court. She pioneered the introduction of the Communications (Front) Desk in the Court of Appeal, and also served as a Presiding Justice in Benin and Enugu Divisions from 2013.

Helen served as the Chair of the Information Technology Committee of the Court of Appeal, Chair of the Media Committee of the Court of Appeal, and the Vice-Chair Information Technology Committee of the National Judicial Council. On 6th November 2020, Helen was appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court.

10. Ibrahim Mohammed Musa Saulawa

image source</a
  • Date of birth: 29th September 1956
  • Age: 67 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 10th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal (2006 – 2020)

Hon. Justice I.M.M. Saulawa was born on 29th September 1956 in Katsina State, Nigeria. He attended his early childhood, primary, and secondary school education in Katsina State from 1965 to 1976. Then he proceeded to the prestigious Bayero University in Kano State where he had his university education between September 1977 and June 1981. Saulawa graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree (LL.B.). That same year, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and was eventually called to the Nigerian Bar on 2nd July 1982.

Justice Saulawa began his career with the compulsory NYSC as a State Counsel under the Ministry of Justice in Kaduna State in August 1982. He served as the Secretary of the Law Officers (Attorneys–General) Committee of the then 10 Northern States of Nigeria. Then he worked as a visiting lecturer at the College of Legal and Extra-Mural Studies at Katsina Polytechnic between 1982 and 1983. Moving forward, Justice Saulawa entered into private practice in 1983 at Ahmed Usman & Associate Chambers in Kaduna State Nigeria. From there, he was made a magistrate in the Kaduna State Judiciary in September 1983.

Between 1987 and 1991, Saulawa served as the Chief Magistrate of Katsina State Judiciary. Then he was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Lagos State as the Deputy Chief Registrar and served from 1991 to 1994. He served as a High Court Judge in the Katsina State Judiciary from 1994 to 2006. On 10th June 2006, Saulawa was appointed as a Justice in the Court of Appeal and he has served in Cross River, Kwara, and Rivers States. On 10th November 2020, he was appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

11. Adamu Jauro

Supreme Court Justices Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 26th June 1959
  • Age: 64 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 6th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Judge of the Court of Appeal

Adamu Jauro was born on 26th June 1959 and he hails from Gombe State, Nigeria. He attended Central Primary School, Gombe, Government Secondary School, Bauchi, and the School of Basic Science, Zaria. Then in 1980, he studied Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he bagged his LL.B in Law.

Adamu Jauro holds a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. He also has a Certificate from the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management.

After he was called to the Nigerian Bar, Adamu worked under the Ministry of Justice in Bauchi State in 1983. Further, he moved to his alma mater ABU Zaria where he worked as an Assistant Lecturer. Later, he got an appointment under the Ministry of Justice in Bauchi State, Nigeria. Jauro served in the Prosecution Department before being promoted to the rank of the Director of Public Prosecution.

Adamu Jauro served in various capacities at the Gombe State Judiciary before being appointed as a Judge of the High Court of Gombe State, where he served till 2007. Also in 2007, he was promoted to the Bench of the Court of Appeal and served in Jos, Lagos, Yola, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt.

12. Tijjani Abubakar

Supreme Court Justices Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 15th April 1960
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 6th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Justice Court of Appeal

Justice Tijjani Abubakar was born on 15th April 1960 and is a native of Base Local Government Area, Yobe State. Abubakar attended Gashua Central Primary School for his primary school education, and Government Secondary School, Gashua, for his secondary education. Later, he attended the School of Basic Science, University of Maiduguri. He attended the University of Maiduguri where he studied Law and graduated in 1982. After graduating from the Nigerian Law School, Abubakar was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1983.

Tijjani started his career in 1982 as a Pupil State Counsel under the Ministry of Justice in Borno State. In 1988, He graduated to the level of a Principal State Counsel. He worked as Attorney General, Permanent Secretary, and Commissioner for Justice of Yobe State at various times. After that, he went into private practice and set up his own law firm known as Tijjani Abubakar and Co. In 2004, Abubakar returned to public practice with his appointment as a Judge in Federal High Court.

In 2012, Tijjani was appointed as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. He was serving at the Lagos Division when he was appointed as one of the Justices of the Supreme Court in 2020.

13. Emmanuel Akomaye Agim

Supreme Court Justices Nigeria
image source</a
  • Date of birth: 26th April 1960
  • Age: 63 years old
  • Date of Appointment: 6th November 2020
  • Previous Office: Justice of the Court of Appeal

Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim was born on 26th April 1960 and he is a native of Obudu in Cross River State, Nigeria. He is a graduate of Law from the University of Calabar and attained his LL.B in 1985. Akomaye proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos State, where he graduated and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986. Emmanuel also attended the University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, and graduated with an LLM qualification.

Emmanuel Agim started his legal career outside Nigeria. He worked at the Gambian Court of Appeal from 2004 to 2008. From 2007, he served as the President of the court till 2008. In 2008, Agim was appointed as a Justice of The Gambian Supreme Court and from 2009 to 2012, served as the Chief Justice of The Gambia. Between 2010 and 2012, Justice Emmanuel Agim served as the Justice of the Supreme Court of Swaziland. When he returned to Nigeria, he was appointed as one of the Justices of the Nigerian Court of Appeal on 5th November 2012. On 6th November 2020, he was appointed to become a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Why Are There 13 Supreme Court Justices in Nigeria Instead of 21?

As we mentioned earlier, the number of Justices in Nigeria is 13 at the moment. However, the supposed maximum number is 21 including the chief justice. The reasons why their number reduced to the current number range from death to retirement, and resignation. With the reduced number, there is an increased workload on the shoulders of the remaining justices. Recently, the senior lawyers in Nigeria cried out to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Judicial Council to appoint more justices as the number is reducing.

Since the office is based on Presidential appointment and the process of appointing a new justice is rigorous, change does not reflect easily. The method of appointing a new justice has to pass through at least three offices. Because of this, the appointment is not done always. But once the sitting president orders their replacement, it is done as soon as possible.

List of the Retired or Resigned Supreme Court Justices in Nigeria

Below is a list of the supreme court of Nigeria justices who are no longer serving and the reasons behind their withdrawal.

  • Justice Mary Peter-Odili (retirement)
  • Justice Abdu Aboki (retirement)
  • Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour (retirement)
  • Justice Ejembi EKo (retirement)
  • Chief Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad (Resignation)
  • Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta (Death)
  • Justice Samuel Oseji (Death)

Recommended

Featured Today

Read This Next