Full List of Chief Justices of Nigeria’s Supreme Court

Orderliness, an appropriate punishment for law offenders, and vindication of the wrongfully accused are essential for the prosperity and stability of a Nation, and even tho there is still injustice in Nigeria, there are still numerous unpopular cases where justice prevailed.

The judicial system of Nigeria is bestowed with the responsibility of ensuring that justice prevails in Nigeria and the most prized position in the judiciary is the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is presided over by the chief justice and has up to 15 justices. It is the final court of appeal; and it has jurisdiction over disputes between the states, or between the federal government and any state, particularly in relation to the allocation of funds or resources, and over disputes arising from elections. The Federal Court of Appeal is headed by a president and has at least 35 justices, with a minimum of three with expertise in Sharia Law, and three in customary law.

In this post, we present a comprehensive list of the Chief Justices of the Nigerian supreme court, from past to date.

List of Chief Justices of Supreme court in Nigeria

List of Former Chief Justices Duration In Office
Sir Edwin Speed 1914 till 1918
Sir Ralph Combe 1918 till 1929
Donald Kingdon 1929 till 1946
Sir John Verity 1946 till 1954
Sir Stafford Sutton 1955 till 1958
Sir Adetokunbo Ademola 1958 till 1972
Taslim Olawale Elias 1972 till 1975
Darnley Arthur Alexander 1975 till 1979
Atanda Fatai Williams 1979 till 1983
George Sodeinde Sowemimo 1983 till 1985
Ayo Gabriel Irikefe 1985 till 1987
Mohammed Bello 1987 till 1995
Muhammad Lawal Uwais 1995 till 2006
Salihu Moddibo Alfa Belgore 2006 till 2007
Idris Legbo Kutigi 2007 till 2009
Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina-Alu 2009 till 2011
Dahiru Musdapher 2011 till 2012
Aloma Mariam Mukhtar 2012 till 2014
Mahmud Mohammed 2014–2016
Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen 2017–2019
Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad 2019 till date

Who is the Current Chief Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria?

The current Chief Justice of Nigeria is Hon. Mr Justice I. T. Muhammad. His Lordship was born on the 31st of December 1953.

CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad & President Buhari
CJN, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad & President Buhari

He had his primary education at the Grace primary school from the year 1961 up until 1968. He went on to have his secondary education at the Government secondary school, Azure from 1969 to 1973. As for his secondary education, he attended college at the Abdullahi  Bayero University College in Kano(1975 to 1976). He went on to study law in ABU (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria) from 1976 to 1980. From 1980 to 1981, he attended Nigerian law school. He also had his Masters degree in the same University from 1982 till the year 1984.

The current chief justice of Nigeria once served as the Magistrate Grade II in Bauchi State Judiciary from 1982 to 1984. He later rose to the level of senior magistrate Grade II in subsequent years. Around 1986 to 1989, his Lordship was appointed as the Provost of the College of Legal and Islamic studies in Bauchi state. That was around the year 1986 to 1989.  From the year 1990 to 1993, he was appointed as the Sharia Judge of the Sharia Court of Appeal, Bauchi State. He rose to be the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal from the year 1993 to 2006.

First Female Chief justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court

Well, it is no surprise to spot that women are no missing in action at the Judiciary front. Nigerian had a female in the number one judiciary office in Nigeria, and that was during Ex-President Goodluck’s Regime. Her name is Aloma Mariam Mukhar.

Aloma Mariam Mukhar, First Nigerian Female Chief Justice
Aloma Mariam Mukhar, First Nigerian Female Chief Justice

Mrs Aloma Mariam Mukhar was born on the 20th of November 1944.  She was called to the English Bar in the year 1966, and subsequently, Nigerian bar in the year 1967. Nigeria’s first chief jurist of the supreme court was sworn on the 16th of August 2012. She was sworn in as the 13th indigenous chief justice of the federal republic of Nigeria. She was sworn in by the then president, Goodluck Jonathan. Do you know that this wonderful female jurist has a lot of “firsts” to her name? well, let us shoot; she is the first female Jurist from northern Nigeria, she is the first female jury of the Kano state high court Judiciary, the first justice of the Nigerian court of appeal, and finally, the grand finale- the first female chief justice of the Nigerian supreme court.

In the course of her illustrious career, she received a lot of awards. Let us highlight them below.

  • National honour of the commander of the Niger in the year 2006
  • The Gold Merit Award
  • The Nigerian Hall of Fame in 2005.

List Of Nigerian Chief Justices Before Amalgamation (1914)

During British rule, Nigeria was divided into Protectorates. This lasted from the year 1900 to 1914. So let us see the Chief justices of both the northern and southern protectorates, and the year that they served.

 Chief justices of the supreme court of Northern protectorate

  • Sir Edwin Speed (1908  to  1913)
  • Sir M R Mendez (1905 to 1908)
  • Henry Cowper Gollan(1901 to 1905)
  • Alastair Davidson (1900 to 1901)

Chief justices of Supreme Court of Southern protectorate

  • Willoughby Osborne (1906 to 1913)
  • Henry Green Kelly (1900 to 1902)


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