Hon. Justice Umar Abdullahi, CFR
Justice Abdullahi was born on the 30th of November 1939 at Katsina, Katsina State. His primary education was at Kayelwa Primary School and Secondary education at Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina) both in Katsina State. He attended Abdullahi Bayero College, Kano for Arabic Studies between 1962 and 1963, and attended the Institute of Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and passed the Bar Part 1 examinations in 1964. He proceeded to Noble Society of Lincoln’s Inn London, Council of Legal Education, London and School of oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London and passed the Final Bar Examinations and was called to the English Bar in November 1966.
He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1968, and joined the Civil Service in the then North-Central State in 1969 as State Counsel, later as Magistrate, and served as Principal State Counsel and later as Chief Registrar of the High Court of North-Central State before his appointment as Attorney-General of Kaduna State. In 1977, he was elevated to High Court Bench as a High Court Judge in Kaduna State Judiciary and was elevated as a Justice of the Court of Appeal in 1983. Following the creation of Katsina State in 1987, he was seconded to the Katsina State Judiciary as its first Chief Judge. He returned to the Court of Appeal in 1992 and served in the Lagos Division, later becoming the Presiding Justice in Enugu Division and later Kaduna Division of the Court of Appeal. He served as a Member of the Republic of the Gambian Court of Appeal between 1994 and 1995, and was elevated as the Honourable President of the Court of Appeal in January 1999 where he served until his retirement on the 30th of November 2009.
Key Judicial assignments he undertook include: Chairman, Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the Federal Government of Nigeria 1984; Chairman, Body of Benchers; Member, Federal Judicial Service Commission; Member, National Judicial Institute; Member, National Judicial Council; Member, Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee, Member, Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee; Member, Board of Governors, Katsina Education Development Fund; Member, World Jurists Association; Member, International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law; and currently Life Bencher since 1998.
Numerous honours, awards and accolades have been bestowed upon Justice Abdullahi, some of which include: Commander of the Order of the Niger, Walin Matasan Arewa, Beacon of Hope, Fellow of the Nigerian Muslim Students Association, Fellow of the Nigerian Law School and Patron of the Institute of Chartered Management Auditors. His hobbies include reading, writing, sports and philanthropy especially to the educationally disadvantaged. Justice Abdullahi is a devout Muslim and believes in the philosophy of his late colleague Justice Chukwudifu Oputa: “Our efficiency without God’s sufficiency is utter deficiency”.