The late Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu
The late Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu

By Desola Albert,

The Supreme Court on Wednesday confirmed the death of former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu.

The deceased who hailed from Ushongo in Benue, was the CJN from December 30, 2009 to August 28, 2011.

The Senior Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Awassam Bassey, in a statement in Abuja, said the CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, confirmed the death in Canada.

“The death of the former numero uno of the Nigerian judiciary was confirmed while Justice Onnoghen was in Canada.

“A few of our colleagues have called this morning (from about 3:30a.m. Montreal Canadian time) to seek confirmation of the death of former Chief Justice Katsina-Alu.

“I can confirm that the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs Hadizatu Mustapha, sent me a WhatsApp message to that effect about an hour ago confirming the death of the former CJN.

“I have just called the Chief Registrar to confirm that this is indeed the situation.

“The Personal Assistant of the former CJN called her at 3.00p.m. Nigerian time to inform her of the demise,’’ Mr Bassey quoted Mr Onnoghen to have said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Onnoghen and other justices of the Supreme Court and Chief Judges of some states are in Montreal, Canada, attending a conference.

Mr Katsina-Alu, born August 28, 1941, was sworn in as the CJN on December 30, 2009 by his predecessor Justice Idris Kutigi.

There was some controversy over Mr Katsina-Alu’s swearing-in in 2009 since in all previous ceremonies the Oath of Office was administered by the president.

However, then President Umaru Yar’Adua was unavailable to carry out that task on account of ill health, thereby providing room for Justice Kutigi to conduct the exercise.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condoled the family of the late justice.

“I’m saddened by the loss of Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu, a former CJN of Nigeria. On behalf of my family, I condole with his family, the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the people and Government of Benue. May his soul rest in peace.”

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