7 Female Chief Judges Steering Judicial Sector In Northern Nigeria

As the world recently celebrated women and their lives, which include their daily struggles to break that proverbial glass ceiling every single day, LEADERSHIP Sunday thought it wise to present to you the seven female judges savouring a place in history in Northern Nigeria.

These female chief judges in their states are breaking the barriers and reaching the pinnacle of their careers in Northern Nigeria.

There are currently seven states in Northern Nigeria whose judicial arm of government are managed by women of excellence and competence who rose through the ranks despite the perceived, or imaginary, obstacles that confronted them.

Interestingly, this is happening in a country where, until recently, almost every profession was a man’s world, including law. Slowly and steadily, some Nigerian women of great repute started making their presence felt in every sector – business, legislature,  sports, law, you name it!

These women established themselves against all odds and pre-conceived notions and made their indelible mark in the legal profession.

While this very spirit motivates more women to keep fighting, these formidable women have no doubt achieved something that was considered unattainable at one point of time, particularly in their region. Today, we celebrate not only the destination they have reached, but also the journey they undertook to reach their goals.

The Exemplary Seven

Today, we bring to you the success stories of the seven remarkable female judges in Zamfara, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Bauchi , Gombe and Adamawa states,  whose presence caused the glass ceiling to develop cracks deep enough to shatter their male counterparts, courtesy of the undeniable strides they have recorded.

Their courage, grit and determination of these legal amazons has no doubt formed the foundation for subsequent generations of fearless women in the region who will continue to overcome legal and societal barriers, advancing to the highest levels of their professions.

These trailblazers, according to records, have accomplished  astounding series of firsts, shattering countless glass ceilings in the legal field.

 

Justice Dije Abdu Aboki

Justice Dije Abdu Aboki is the first woman to serve as a judge in Kano State since its creation in May 1967. Her emergence as the first woman to hold such a high position at that level against all odds earned her recognition as the jinx breaker of gender marginalisation in a ttraditionally conservative socio-religious society.

Prior to her appointment and swearing-in as chief judge by Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf on August 7, 2023, Chief Justice Dije Aboki acted as chief judge in March 2023.

Born July 10, 1964, Dije Aboki attended Tudun Wada Primary School, Kano State, between 1969 and 1973.

The 59-year-old proceeded to Government Girls’ College, Minna, Niger, from 1973 to 1978 for her secondary education and later graduated from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in 1983 (LLB. Hons).

She did her National Youth Service at Bayero University, Kano (1984 – 1985) and was called to the Bar in 1984.

She began her distinguished career as state counsel in 1985 under the state Ministry of Justice. A year later, she was appointed a magistrate and rose to become a high court judge in 2006.

A disciplinarian to the core, this eminent jurist is the wife of Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, and a mother to five children, three of them lawyers.

The Kano Chief Judge is a member of several associations including Magistrates Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association. She was chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kano Chapter,1990 -1992, among others.

This legal icon is today serving with distinction with many of her judgement often evincing encomiums for her undoubted mastery of the law. Known for her gentle yet firm control with counsel who have been privileged to appear before her, this very honest jurist does not suffer fools lightly. She is said to be serving creditably.

Known for her hunger for positive and commendable results, on assumption of office, she was said to have set up various committees, among which are: Performance and Evaluation Committee headed by a high court judge that assess magistrates’ performances on quarterly basics; Training Committee, also headed by a high court judge; Judicial Public Complaint and Anti-corruption Committee, headed by a high court judge and the Khadi of Shari’a Court of Appeal.

Exhibiting the refined person that she is, Dije’s developmental strides have impacted positively on the productivity and welfare of her subordinates.  She has so far cleansed the state judicial of indiscipline, corruption, and flagrant abuse of office, to mention a few unprofessional habits.

 

Justice Aisha Bashir-Aliyu

Justice  Aisha Bashir-Aliyu was sworn into office as the first substantive female chief judge of Nasarawa State on April 13, 2021, by Governor Abdullahi Sule, after her confirmation by the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) and screening by the State House of Assembly.

After serving in acting capacity for three months due to the retirement of her predecessor, Chief Justice Suleiman Umaru Dikko, her appointment signified another milestone in the history of Nasarawa State Judiciary.

Although she is the fifth person to occupy the exalted position 24 years after the state was created in 1996, history holds it that she broke the gender record to occupy that all-important seat.

Appointed based on her track record of professionalism and experience, Aisha, whose integrity has been tested and trusted, has not only improved the welfare for judicial staff but a good coordinator, planner, organiser and, above all, a caring mother.

Many, especially within the legal profession in the state, firmly believe that she has done creditably.

Barrister Innocent Kigbu, a private legal practitioner in Lafia , was once quoted as saying  that the infrastructural and moral changes in the state jjudicial was birthed by the legal luminary.

 

Justice Hafsat Abdulrahman

Justice Hafsat Abdulrahaman was sworn in as the substantive chief judge of Adamawa State on April 26, 2023, by Governor Ahmadu Umar Fintiri.

Her confirmation followed the consideration of a letter forwarded to the state assembly by the Governor Fintiri in response to NJC’s recommendations.

So far, her landmark achievements have further proven that her life is characterised by deep insight and discernment, bold visions  and courage, brave, unparalleled focus and determination.

 

Justice Rabi Talatu Umar

Since she took over the mantle of leadership at the Bauchi State judiciary seven years ago in 2016, Justice Rabi Talatu Umar has through her vision and mission transformed the sector to an enviable height. She has given so much credibility to the judiciary and is being celebrated for that giant stride.

Sworn in by the former governor of Bauchi State, Abdullahi Abubakar, as the state’s first female chief judge, Justice Umar’s her appointment in 2016 to occupy the once vacant seat, after her predecessor Justice Ibrahim Mohammed Zango’s retirement, has sanitised the sector to complainants’ admiration.

This trailblazer who has recorded successes in her tortuous but successful journey won the confidence of the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, who, based on her competence in legal adjudication, did not even make any attempt to replace her.

On her watch, the Bauchi State Judiciary has fared well. She constantly calls for the understanding and sacrifice of her workforce, justice seekers and, in fact, all stakeholders in the sector, hence her ability to overcome the challenges and setbacks she met on ground.

She strongly believes that legal practitioners owe the society a great duty of deciding cases without fear or favour. For her, jurists who are clean and sincere in their rulings have no cause to be afraid or feel intimidated in spite of frivolous complaints, petitions or vitriolic attacks.

 

Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik

Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik made steady and deserving movement to become the fourth female chief judge of Niger State.

 

 

 

She was first appointed acting chief judge on February 25, 2022 following the retirement of the then chief judge, Justice Aisha Lami Bawa Bwari.

 

 

 

Justice Halima was later confirmed by the state House of Assembly and became the ninth substantive chief judge of the state.

 

She was sworn in on August 22, 2022,  by the then governor of the state,  Abubakar Sani Bello.

 

 

 

Before her appointment as chief judge, she had created a very credible image as a judicial officer in the state; thus, everybody attested to her good image and expressed confidence in her expected sterling stewardship as chief judge of the state.

 

A go-getter, disciplinarian, no-nonsense character, firm and fervent workaholic, she has not left anyone in doubt as she has continued to build confidence and credibility for the state judiciary.

 

 

 

In fact, Justice Halima, the entire state of Niger State, her colleagues and others have continued to marvel at her leadership strides.

 

 

 

 

 

Records have it that just within two years of her assumption, she has wielded the big stick on erring judicial officers, while those who have done well are lauded to serve as incentive.

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