Mohammed Bello (judge)

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Justice Mohammed Bello (1930 – 4 November 2004)[1] was the first Northern Chief Justice of Nigeria (1987–1995). He was an eminent jurist who tried to protect the court against the excess of military incursion in judicial matters.

Education and early life[edit]

Mohammed Bello was born in Katsina, his father, Gidado was the mufti of Katsina. He started early education at the Central Elementary school Katsina, in 1943. For secondary tutelage, he attended the Middle school in Katsina. He then proceeded to the University College Ibadan to study Latin as a preparatory course for a Law degree. Between 1953 and 1955, he was at Inn of court, London, earning his law degree. Mohammed Bello then started his professional law career as the pupil crown counsel to the Northern Nigeria government in 1956. In 1961, he was appointed the chief magistrate, Northern Nigeria and served in that capacity for three years. He took on another public duty as the Director of Public Prosecutions, Northern Nigeria. During the waning months of the Nigerian civil war, Justice Mohammed Bello was appointed acting and later Chief Justice of Northern Nigeria between 1969 and 1975.

Supreme Court[edit]

Described as a detribalized Nigerian by some of his peers, Justice Mohammed Bello's tenure at the Supreme Court was one of a fearless actor in the midst of a military onslaught on democratic norms and judicial precedents.[2] As the supreme court chief he steered the wheels of the judiciary towards peace and away from political controversy with the exception of a few instances.[3] In 1986, he was the chair of a judicial inquiry tribunal that reviewed military court decisions affecting prominent politicians such as Olabisi Onabanjo, Prof D.A. Odenikpe, Dr Oladewa, Prof Ambrose Ali, Mr Solomon Lar, Chief Melford Okilo, Olawale Edwards, and Chief Folowonsho


  1. ^ Nigeria: Ex-CJN, Mohammed Bello, Dies At 74
  2. ^ Vanguard, Nov 5, 2004
  3. ^ Xinhua News Agency, Sept 28, 1994


  • (1) Nigerian Vanguard, Nov 5, 2004, Justice Bello
  • (2) Xinhua News Agency, September 28, 1994, Concord Journalists
  • (3) Thisday, Nigeria November 23, 2004, Justice Bello