Past CJN/Chariman of the Commission
Hon. Justice Muhammadu Lawal Uwais, GCON
Chief Justice of Nigeria ( 1995-2006) Chairman FJSC ( 1999-2006):
Muhammadu Lawal Uwais was born on June 12, 1936 in Zaria, Kaduna State. He retired in 2006, but will always be remembered for making many remarkable imprints on the court and, in fact, the entire Judicial System.
Uwais holds the honor of being the First Alumnus of the Nigerian Law School to occupy the exalted position of Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a distinction he achieved by the age of 45. He was responsible for many notable judgments, including his expansion of the political landscape by allowing the registration of new political parties from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in November 2002.
Our former Chief Justice has a long and distinguished history, beginning with his attendance at Tudun Wada Elementary School, Zaria in 1946 and then Zaria Middle School in 1950. After completing his basic schooling, Uwais attended the famous Barewa College, Zaria between 1952 – 1957, and then later the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria from 1960 – 1961. Following this impressive background, Uwais briefly left Nigeria to continue his education at the School for Oriental and African Studies, University of London. While studying abroad, he also enrolled in the programme at the Inns of Court School of Law, Council of Legal Education between 1961 -1963. This helped to spark his love of the judicial system, and Uwais became a student at the Gibson and Weldon College of Law, London from 1961 – 1962. During his final year in London, Uwais enrolled at the Council of Legal Education, London to prepare for the post Bar Finals, and he was called to the English Bar at the Middle Temple in July, 1963.
In September of 1963, Uwais returned to Nigeria and immediately started classes at the Nigerian Law School for vocational training, which lasted for 3 months. Following that, he began a lifelong career in the Nigerian Judicial System, when in 1999 he became the First Chairman of the Federal Judicial Service commission of Nigeria. He held this position until 2006, when he retired as the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The seat he vacated was subsequently filled by Justice Salihu Modibbo Alfa Belgore.