Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Dahiru Musdapher died in the early hours of Tuesday at the age of 75.

Here are some facts you may not have known or heard about the late former Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Early Life

He was born a member of the Bani Ya'muusa clan in Babura Town in Babura, a local government area in the north of Jigawa State.

The progenitor of the clan (his lordship's great-grandfather), Goni Ya'Musa, was a Fulani scholar, a renowned and respected Islamic jurist and teacher who migrated from the Kanem Bornu Empire in the mid-1800s.

He pursued a lifelong mission of teaching and Islamic missionary work until he settled in Babura Town, in Jigawa State.

Musdapher's father, Mallam Musdapher Musa – also a renowned Islamic scholar – served as a principal advisor to several District Heads across the Kano Native Authority during the colonial era.

His stewardship extended for decades until he was enthroned as the District Head of Babura L.G.A. 

Mallam Musdaher's father was the first headmaster of the first primary school in Babura.

He died in 1993 as the head of a large and respected family leaving behind over 300 children, grandchildren and great-grand children.

My Lord Justice Musdapher is the head of this family.


He spent only two years in the elementary school before moving to the middle where the teachers were convinced that the young lad must have been memorising the dictionary.

His vocabulary was clearly beyond the norm. He was a voracious reader that devoured everything that came his way.

True to family tradition, his exposure to western education did not deflect him from his Islamic education.

Through the traditional system, he mastered a good portion of the Holy Qur'an and acquired intensive knowledge in Arabic Language and grammar; as well as the foundational principles of Islamic law. 

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The knowledge garnered gave him invaluable insight when adjudicating on issues related to the Shari'ah and is generally regarded as an authority and reference point on the subject.

While in Rumfa College he was consistently one of the best students in the school. He was classmates with several other distinguished Nigerians including Late General Sani Abacha GCON (Late Military Head of State of Nigeria 1993-1998), Late Alhaji Adamu Dankabo (Founder and Chairman of Nigeria's first Indigenous private commercial airline), Justice R.D. Mohammed and many others.

Employment Records

After concluding his secondary education, he secured a job at the Northern Regional Ministry of Finance in Kaduna as a clerical officer in 1963.

Shortly afterwards, he secured admission to study at the Institute of Administration, in Zaria (Which later became Ahmadu Bello University)

Some of his classmates were Justice Umaru Abdullahi CON, Justice Katsina Alu CJN, GCON amongst others that have since become giants in Nigerian and international legal circles.

He left for the United Kingdom to conclude his legal training in 1964.

He was called to the British bar in 1967 (Middle Temple).

He became quite famous as a regular outside contributor and discussant in the West African Service of the BBC as well as the Hausa service from 1964-67. Notably he was in the BBC studios as a discussant when the ugly events of January 1966 in which the Sardauna of Sokoto and Prime Minister Balewa were murdered in a bloody coup d'état.

On return to Nigeria he proceeded to the Law school where he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1968.

Unlike most of his colleagues and seniors who opted for a career in public service from the onset, he chose to pursue a career in private legal practice together with the late Kaloma Ali in Kano. During those early years, he was one of the most notable and sought after legal practitioners throughout the northern region. He made appearances before all the High Courts of the Northern region.

Testament to his growing pedigree he was appointed Secretary to the Kano Emirate Council and Adviser to the Kano Native authority from 1968-1976.

The jurist retired from bench five years ago on attaining the mandatory retirement age of 75.

In August 2011, Justice Musdapher was appointed the Acting Chief Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Personal life

He was married to Hajiya Fatimah Dahiru Musdapher (née Suleiman Galadima) with three Children, Khadijah, Kaloma and Suleiman. He has nine grandchildren with Nabil being the oldest and Dahiru Jr (Muhammad) the youngest.