Gov Ortom, others mourn Katsina-Alu, former CJN

Gov Ortom, others mourn Katsina-Alu, former CJN

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 6:26 pm


The Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, says the death of Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, former Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), has thrown the state into “total darkness, sadness and mourning”.

Katsina-Alu, who served as CJN between Dec. 2009 and August 2011, died on Wednesday, July 18. The Jurist, who hailed from Ushongo in Benue, was aged 78.

Ortom, in a statement on Wednesday in Makurdi, described the late CJN as “a peace-loving man, patriot and father, who built bridges for many others to cross”.

“The late jurist was a selfless Nigerian, who upheld the truth, equity and fairness while serving the country. His death is a huge blow to Nigeria in general and Benue in particular,” he said.

Mr Michael Aondokaa (SAN), former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, who also reacted to Katsina-Alu’s death, said that it was “shocking”.

He described the former CJN as the father of modern legal profession, saying that he would be “greatly missed”.

Chairman of Ushongo Local Government, Mr John Moughsha, who also reacted, said that the news was “devastating”.

“I had a personal relationship with him which dates back into the early 1970s.

“We first met in Lagos when he was with the Nigeria Ports Authority where I did my mandatory national service.

“He took me in as a junior member of his family and we got even closer thereafter.

“He was one of the leading lights in this local government (Ushongo), and was always ready to intervene in our quest for meaningful development,” he said.

A former Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Terhile Ayua, in his reaction, described Katsina-Alu as “a colossus within the legal profession”.

“He was a brilliant jurist who left a rich legacy of landmark judicial pronouncements,” Ayua said.

According to him, the late CJN was “an embodiment of pristine virtues such as humility, honesty, compassion, hard work, and was one of Benue’s foremost ambassadors”.

Also expressing his grief, former Lagos Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said that Katsina-Alu was gentle, peace loving and unassuming.

NAN reports that the former CJN attended St. Michael’s Secondary School, Aliade in 1961, and later moved to the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna.

He proceeded to Mons Military Training College, Aldershot, England where he trained between 1962 to 1963. His military carrier was, however, short lived.

On his return from the military training, he enrolled at the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and, in 1964, proceeded to Gibson and Weldon College of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Katsina-Alu was called into the English Bar in October, 1967 and subsequently attended the Nigerian Law School after which he was called to the Nigerian Bar in June, 1968.

In 1978, he was appointed the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Benue State.

His career on the bench spanned 32 years out of which 13 years were spent as a Justice of the Supreme Court.

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