Ex-CJN, Justice Katsina-Alu, Is Dead, Saraki, Others Mourn

Family sources said he died at about 2am Wednesday at Chida Orthopaedic Hospital, Gudu, Abuja.

He was aged 76, and would have been 77 on August 28.

Katsina-Alu, a native of Benue State, succeeded Idris Legbo Kutigi as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in December 2009, and was in office till August 2011.

The office of the incumbent CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, confirmed it on Wednesday morning.

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.

“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,” the statement read.

“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 organised 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.”

Meanwhile, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has expressed deep sorrow over the death.

Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, described the late Justice as a patriotic and diligent public servant whose many well considered judgements enriched the nation’s jurisprudence and contributed immensely to national development.

 

He commiserated with the immediate family of the deceased, the Tiv Nation, the Judiciary, the Government and people of Benue State of the sad incident.

 

Saraki said: “We have lost a worthy and exemplary Nigerian. We have lost a legal luminary who’s numerous contributions to the development of the nation’s judiciary cannot be quantified.

 

“It is regrettable that he left us at a time his experience and wise counsel would have been invaluable in tackling critical national challenges confronting the country,” he stated.

 

Saraki prayed to God to grant the soul late CJN peaceful rest and his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.