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5 months after, CJN ‘homeless’

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By Sunday Ejike Benjamin

Five months after his confirmation as Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Dahiru Musdapher is yet to occupy his official residence, Peoples Daily investigation reveals.
Justice Musdapher was formally confirmed substantive CJN by the Senate in September 2011, almost one month after presiding over the nation’s judiciary in acting capacity.
However, our investigation revealed that Justice Musdapher could not move into the official residence of the CJN because the house lacks furniture.
A dependable source said the immediate past CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu moved out of the residence, located in the Three Arms Zone, almost directly opposite the Supreme Court, Abuja, with the furniture.
“I have it on good authority that the former CJN, Justice Katsina-Alu moved out all the furniture in the CJN’s official residence after his retirement”, the source alleged.
But officials at the Supreme Court are hush-hush on the delayed relocation of the current CJN to his official residence, with a few who even declined to be quoted claiming that Justice Musdapher could not move into the house “due to renovation work presently going on”.
But further investigations by our reporter showed that this claim but some of the apex court staff may be far from the truth as Justice Dahiru Musdapher is said to be reluctant to spend public funds that could run into millions to re-furnish the house for his use, “given that he has barely five months from now to retire”, said one inside source.
Justice Musdapher will be due for retirement on July 15, this year when he would have been 70 years of age.
The Chief Registrar (CR) of the apex court, Mr. Sunday Olahundahunsi, also tactically declined comment on the matter after more than one-week’s efforts by our reporter to get him react to the allegation.
For several days last week, our reporter visited the CR’s office but was told that Mr. Olahundahunsi had travelled. Similarly, he neither answered our reporter’s repeated calls nor replied an SMS sent to his cell phone inquiring about the alleged removal of the residence’s furniture by Justice Katsina-Alu.
When finally on Tuesday, our reporter was lucky to discover that the CR was in his office, he was told that the apex court’s chief registrar was “extremely busy”.
Mr. Olahundahunsi however forwarded our reporter’s SMS to one of the CJN’s personal staff, asking the officer to respond to the inquiry, as our reporter was to discover later.
But the officer also declined to make official comments on the issue, but simply offered certain “explanations” as to the possible reason (s) for the delayed movement of the CJN into his official residence.
Concerted efforts to get Justice Katsina-Alu’s reaction to the allegation that he carted away the furniture in the CJN’s official residence also failed, as some personal aides contacted yesterday declined comments, and said they do not have the retired luminary’s permission to speak to our reporter, while also claiming that “he won’t talk to you on such an issue even if you get to see him”.
The aides, who insisted that their identities must be disclosed, however claimed that there was an unwritten rule in the Judiciary that allows every chief justice of the federation to pack out all the furniture in the residence once they are due to retire.
The Senate, it would be recalled, confirmed the appointment of Justice Musdpaher as substantive CJN in September last year following his appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan, after the retirement of Justice Katsina-Alu from the Bench in August of the same year.

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