ON Monday, August 7, Kano State Governor Abba Yusuf swore in Dije Aboki as the state’s substantive Chief Judge.
The ceremony was held at the Government House in Kano, with the governor calling on the judiciary to support his administration’s demolition of illegal structures and recovery of public assets allegedly acquired through unlawful means by the past government.
Aboki is the state’s first female chief judge.
Before the swearing-in ceremony, she had occupied the position as Acting Chief Judge since March 2023, following her appointment by the immediate past governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, which the Kano State House of Assembly confirmed in July 2023.
Aboki an alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, had her the one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in Kano between 1984-1985, after which she began her career and rose to the position of High Court judge in 2006.
Aboki’s swearing-in comes amidst calls by female lawyers for a gender balance in leadership positions within the legal profession, including the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
In 2022, The ICIR reported that factors such as marriage affect the rise of female judges in Nigeria.
Despite the many achievements of female judges in Nigeria, a major stumbling block in attaining leadership positions in the judiciary is the issue of state as it relates to Nigerian women upon marriage.
Many women who transfer service to their husbands’ states after marriage often encounter problems when they attempt to become judges or assume other leadership positions at the bar.
A 2023 Women in Law and Leadership Report by the Institute of African Women in Law (IAWL) also identified other factors that hinder female lawyers from ascending to leadership positions, including religious and cultural biases, stereotypes and discrimination.
The report also stated that inadequate representation of women in legal leadership would make female lawyers continue to suffer from institutional and structural challenges due to marginalisation.