Wigs with Brains: Meet Female Chief Judges in Northern Nigeria

As gender advocate groups continue to clamour for more women participation and inclusion in politics as well as governance, women are breaking the barriers, reaching the pinnacle of their careers in northern Nigeria.

Women are excelling in various walks of life such as politics, civil service, business, academia, and professional areas such as health, ICT, law among others through sheer hard work, commitment and dedication.

There are currently seven states in northern Nigeria whose judicial arm of governments are managed by women of excellence and competence that rose through the ranks despite the perceived or imaginary obstacles.

Just recently, Kano State joined the league of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Nasarawa, Niger and Zamfara states that have confirmed female legal juggernauts as their chief judges.

WikkiTimes presents the current seven female chief judges steering judicial sectors in the named states.

On August 7, Kano State Governor, Abba Yusuf, sworn in Chief Justice Dije Aboki as the first female Chief Judge of the State.

Justice Dije Aboki who is married to a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Abdu Aboki, was born on July 10, 1964 in the center of commerce.

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The Kano Chief Judge is a member of several associations including: Magistrate Association of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, International Bar Association, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Chairperson, Kano Chapter 1990 – 1992, among others.

On April 13, 2021, Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, sworn in Justice Aisha Bashir-Aliyu as the first female chief judge in the state.

Aisha had been working in an acting capacity for over three months following the retirement of Suleiman Umaru Dikko, her predecessor.

She was sworn in after her confirmation by the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) and screening by the state house of assembly.

In Adamawa State, on April 26, Governor Ahmadu Umar Fintiri sworn in Justice Hafsat Abdulrahaman as the substantive Chief Judge of the state.

The confirmation of the first female Chief Justice followed the consideration of a letter forwarded to the state assembly by the Governor Fintiri.

The governor had requested the assembly to confirm her as recommended by the NJC.

Bauchi is one of the earlier adopters as it had a female chief judge for the past seven years.

Justice Rabi Talatu Umar was sworn in by former governor Abdullahi Abubakar as the state’s first female chief judge.

Justice Rabi Talatu Umar took over an office that had been vacant since 2014 after the retirement of Justice Ibrahim Zango.

In Niger State, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, sworn in Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik on August 22, 2022 as the fourth female Chief Judge of the state.

Niger State boasts of a state with highest number of female chief justices in Nigeria.

With the swearing-in of Justice Halima, Niger has had four female chief justices in the state.

Justices Fati Lami Abubakar, former First Lady of Military Head of State, Abdussalami Abubbakar; Justice Aisha Bawa Bwari, and Maria Zukogi — all served as the state chief judges of at different times.

In Gombe State, Governor Inuwa Yahaya, on February 16, sworn-in Justice Halima Mohammed as the new and second female Chief Judge of the state.

Halima Mohammed was born on May 3, 1963 in Tula, Kaltungo Local Government Area of the state and attended Local Education Authority primary school in Billiri Local Government Area.

She was 59 years old when she assumed office as the chief judge.

In Zamfara, during the reign of Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari, Justice Kulu Aliyu was sworn in as the Chief Judge of the state.

Justice Kulu was at the center of struggle between then Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle and his impeached deputy, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau, when their relations sour, a face off that led to removal of the latter.

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