A former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, is dead, the incumbent CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, confirmed it on Wednesday. Katsina-Alu, was born on August 28, 1941. He was aged 76, The deceased who hailed from Ushongo in Benue State, was the CJN from December 30, 2009 to August 28, 2011. The Senior Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Mr. Awassam Bassey, in a statement said the death of the former numero uno of the Nigerian judiciary was confirmed while Justice Onnoghen was in Canada. The statement read, “A few of our colleagues have called this morning (from about 3:30am 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. That the Personal Assistant of the former CJN called her at 3.00pm Nigerian time to inform her of the demise. “However, it’s 3:30am here in Montreal, Canada, where His Lordship the Honourable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Mr. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, GCON, and other Justices of the Supreme Court and Chief Judges of some states, are attending a conference organized by the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law, and I haven’t yet contacted the Hon. CJN for his reaction.
“I hope to do that as soon as he wakes up and get his reaction.” Details of the death of the former CJN were not contained in the statement. He was the first CJN to be sworn in by his predecessor, Justice Legbo Kutigi (retd.) due to the unavailability of the then ailing President Umaru Yar’adua, who did not hand over powers to then Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan. Yar’adua never returned to Nigeria until his death. Katsina-Alu’s tenure as the CJN was also marked by his controversial battle with the then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd), who was later controversially suspended by the National Judicial Council.