By Sama’ila Sani
Justice Muhammad Shitu Abubakar is a rare gem that has one of the most shining careers in the legal and judicial profession in the country. Born on 13th January, 1962 at Chakwaikwaiwa in Taura Local Government Area of Jigawa State, the legal luminary had his primary education at Kwalam Primary School, Taura Local Government area from 1970 to 1976. He proceeded to Government Teachers’ College, Hadejia, now Government Technical College, from 1975 to 1980 where he obtained a Grade II Teachers’ Certificate.
From there he gained admission into Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, in 1983 where he obtained an LL.B Combined Honours Certificate in 1987. The same year he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and he was called to bar the following year.
Subsequently, he attended several trainings and certificate courses at the national Judicial Institute, Abuja, where he added more feathers to his cap.
Justice Muhammad Shitu Abubakar’s impressive learning was backed with an enviable working experience which started from the classroom as a mathematics teacher at Government Unity Secondary, School, Ringim, from 1980 to 1981. By 1988 he was at Bendel State, now Edo State, for his NYSC and after his national youth sevice, he joined the services of the Kano State Government as a Counsel with the State Ministry of Justice from 1989 to 1990.
However, his Judicial Career started in earnest with his appointment as Magistrate Grade II in 1990. He rose through the ranks to Chief Magistrate Grade I1, and presided over several Divisions which were Ungogo Magistrate Court in Kano State from 1990 to 1991, Jahun Magistrate Court in Jigawa State from 1991 to 1992, Kafin Hausa Magistrate Court also in Jigawa State from 1992 to 1995, Birnin Kudu Chief Magistrate Court from 1995 to 1988 and Dutse Chief Magistrate court from 1998 to 1999.
Judging from his track record of dedication and commitment to his career and office, Justice Muhammad Shitu Abubakar was, while serving as Chief Magistrate in Birnin Kudu, appointed Chairman of the then newly established Jigawa State Juvenile Court in 1997. He worked in dual capacity as Magistrate and Chairman of Juvenile Court until March, 1999, when he was appointed Deputy Chief Registrar of Federal High Court.
In that capacity, he served in several Divisions of the Court. These were Abuja, from July 1999 to August, 2000; Lagos Division from August, 2000 to November, 2002; Enugu Division from November, 2002 to December, 2004; Benin Division from December, 2004 to 2 March, 2008 and back to Abuja Division from March, 2008 to June, 2009.
Meanwhile in June, 2009, Muhammad Shitu Abubakar was appointed as a Judge of the Federal High Court where he presided over five divisions of the Courts from 2009 to 2021. These divisions were Damaturu, from June 2009 to 2012; Warri Division from 2012 2015; Bauchi Division from 2015 2018; Abeokuta Division from 2018 March, 2021 and Katsina Division from March, 2021 to date.
Besides the deep learning culture and sound educational background and rich working experience, Justice Muhammad Shitu Abubakar’s excellence in his career was further promoted by the local and overseas seminars, conferences and workshops he has attended in the course of three decades.
These include a Course on “Nigerian Judicial Administration” at the International Law Institute Washington, USA, in 2005; another Course on “Foreign Investment Agreement and Investment State Dispute Settlement” at the International Law Institute Washington, U.S.A, in 2007; and Commonwealth “Magistrates and Judges Conferences” held in Jersey, United Kingdom, in 2005.
Others include the Commonwealth “Magistrates and Judges Conference” held in Toronto, Canada, held in 2006; a Seminar on “E-Government”, held in Dubai, U.A.E, in April, 2008; a training on “International Terrorism” at the Judicial College London in 2017; a conference on the “Nigerian Legal System” held in Miami, USA in 2016 and a seminar on the “Legality of Taxation and other Practices” held at the Hilton London Kensington, Holland Park Avenue in London, 2022.
Justice Muhammad Shitu Abubakar has also attended dozens of seminars, conferences and workshops on Legal and Judicial matters in various parts of Nigeria. These make him one of the most accomplished legal luminaries in the country.