Brief History of Supreme Court of Nigeria

The coinage Supreme Court was first used in 1863 by the colonial administration through the enactment of the Supreme Court Ordinance No. II which established it as a colony with civil and criminal jurisdiction.

In 1963, following the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the constitution which came into operation on October 1, 1963, Section III of this constitution gave legal instrument that gave birth to Supreme Court following the abolition of section 120 which abrogated the appellate jurisdiction of the judicial committee of the Privy Council which was Nigeria’s apex Court.

This Act also gave it the status of the highest Court in the judicial hierarchy while the Independence Constitution of 1960 vested in it the jurisdiction of the Federal Supreme Court.

The 1979 Constitution in its Section 210 (1) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution clearly gave it the name Supreme Court of Nigeria. The Court operates as the apex Court on matters involving both Federal and State Laws.

The Supreme Court is composed of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and not more than twenty others appointed by the President after being recommended by the National Judicial Council subject to the Senate’s confirmation. They are required to retire after a mandatory service age of 70.


Past Chief Justices

  1. Justice Adetokunbo Ademola, KBE, GCON 1958-1972
  2. Justice Taslim Olawale, CFR, GCON 1972-1975
  3. Justice Darnley Arthur Alexander, CBE, KCMG, CFR, GCON 1975-1979
  4. Justice Fatai Atanda Williams, CON, GCON 1979-1983
  5. Justice George Sodeinde Sowemimo, CON, GCON 1983-1985
  6. Justice Ayo Gabriel Irikefe, OFR, CON, GCON 1985-1987
  7. Justice Mohammed Bello, CON, GCON 1987-1995
  8. Justice Muhammawu Lawal Uwais, CON, GCON 1995-2006
  9. Justice S.M.A Belgore, CON, GCON 2006-2007
  10. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, CON, GCON 2007-2009
  11. Justice Aloysius Iyorgyer Katsina- Alu, CON, GCON 1st January 2010-28th August 2011
  12. Hon Justice Dahiru Musdapher 2010 – 2012


Past Justices of Supreme Court(1956 – 2013)

  1. Justice Stafford Foster Sutton (Past CJF)
  2. Justice Olumuyiwa Jibowu
  3. Justice Nageon Delestang
  4. Justice John Abbott
  5. Justice John Verity
  6. Justice Percival Cyril Hubbard
  7. Justice Adetokunbo Ademola (Past CJN)
  8. Justice Lionel Brett
  9. Justice Lious Nwachukwu Mbanefo
  10. Justice James Henley Coussey
  11. Justice Robert Yorke Hedges
  12. Justice George Frederick Dove-Edwin
  13. Justice Thomas Algernon Brown
  14. Justice Samuel Okai Qyashie-Idun
  15. Justice Wilfred Hugh Hurley
  16. Justice Alfred John Ainley
  17. Justice Alexander William Bellamy
  18. Justice William Algernon Holwell Duffus
  19. Justice Edgar Ignatus Godfrey Unsworth
  20. Justice John Idowu Conrad Taylor
  21. Justice Vahe Robert Bairmian
  22. Justice Charles Dadi Onyeama
  23. Justice Eugene Olufemi Adeyinka Morgan
  24. Justice Micheal Oguejiojo Adegbo
  25. Justice George Baptist Ayodola Coker
  26. Justice chukweike Idigbe
  27. Justice Ian Lewis
  28. Justice Charles Olusoji Madarikan
  29. Justice Sir Udo Udoma
  30. Justice Atanda Fatayi – Williams (Past CJN)
  31. Justice Geoge Sodeinde Sowemimo (Past CJN)
  32. Justice Talim Olawale Elias (Past CJN)
  33. Justice Dan Ibekwe
  34. Justice Ayo Gabriel Irikefe (Past CJN)
  35. Justice Darnley Arthur Raymond Alexander (Past CJN)
  36. Justice Muhammed Bello (Past CJN)
  37. Justice Mamman Nasir
  38. Justice Andrews Otutu Obaseki
  39. Justice Kayode Eso
  40. Justice Anthony Nnemezie Aniagolu
  41. Justice Buba Ardo
  42. Justice Augustine Nnamani
  43. Justice Boonyamin Oladiran Kazeem
  44. Justice Dahunsi Olugbemi Coker
  45. Justice A.G. Karibi – Whyte
  46. Justice Saidu Kawu
  47. Justice Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa
  48. Justice Abdul Ganiyu Olatunji Agbaje
  49. Justice Philip Nnaemeka – Agu
  50. Justice Abubakar Bahir Wali
  51. Justice Ebenezer Babasanya Craig
  52. Justice Olajide Olatawura
  53. Justice Ephraim Ibukun Akpata
  54. Justice Uche Omo
  55. Justice Bolarinwa Oyegoke Babalakin
  56. Justice Paul kemdilim Nwokedi
  57. Justice Micheal Ekundayo Ogundare
  58. Justice Emmanuel Obioma Ogwuegbu
  59. Justice Shehu Usman Muhammed
  60. Justice Yekini Olayiwola Adio
  61. Justice Okay Achike
  62. Justice Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola
  63. Justice Ignatius Chukwudi Pats – Acholonu
  64. Justice Anthony Ikechukwu Iguh
  65. Justice Uthman Mohammed
  66. Justice Dennis Onyejife Edozie
  67. Justice Samson Odemwingie Acholonu
  68. Justice U.A. Kalgo
  69. Justice Akintola Olufemi Ejiwunmi
  70. Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais (Past CJN)
  71. Justice S. M. A Belgore (Past CJN)
  72. Justice Sunday Akintola Akintan
  73. Justice Sylvester Umar Onu
  74. Justice P. O. Aderemi
  75. Justice I. L. Kutigi (Past CJN)
  76. Justice G.A. Oguntade
  77. Justice J. O. Ogebe
  78. Justice Niki Tobi
  79. Justice I. F. Ogbuagu
  80. Justice A. I. katsina – Alu (Past CJN)
  81. Justice Dahiru Musdapher (Past CJN)
  82. Justice F. F. Tabai
  83. Justice Olufunlola O. Adekeye



The Hon. Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, (CON)             CJN

The Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Walter Samuel Nkanu Onnoghen, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Francis Fedode Tabai, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Christopher Mitchell Chukwuma-Eneh, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Muhammed Saifullah Muntaka-Coomassie, (CON)

The Hon. Justice John Afolabi Fabiyi, (CON)

The Hon. Justice Olufunola Oyelola Adekeye, (CON)

Hon. Justice Suleiman Galadima, (OFR)

Hon. Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour

Hon. Justice Mary Peter-Odili

Hon. Justice Sylvester Ngwuta

Mr. Sunday Olorundahunsi Esq.                 CHIEF REGISTRAR

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