Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa OFR, CFR

An indigene of Nafada Local Government, Gombe State; born 6th March 1950 in Bauchi State, Honourable Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa is the daughter of Alhaji Abubakar Gidado El-Nafaty and Hajiya Aishatu Dudu El-Nafaty.

A contemporary of late Sir Tafawa Balewa, her late Father was an astute educationist and Broadcaster who was Fluent in Arabic, English, Fulfulde and Hausa languages. He served as a Controller of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. He, together with Late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi and some Islamic Scholars established Jama’atu Nasrul Islam.

EDUCATION: Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa had her early education at Tudun Wada Primary school, Kaduna between 1957 and 1960 before proceeding to Senior Primary School, Maiduguri Road, Kaduna where she obtained her School Leaving Certificate in 1963.

In 1964, she began her secondary education at Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin at the end of which she obtained her West African School Certificate. She got married in 1969 after completing her secondary education. Following the death of her father that year, her great uncle, Alhaji Ahmed Arabi became her guardian. She was married off to her cousin, a son to Dr. Aliyu Abubakar, then the Deputy Vice – Chancellor of Bayero University Kano. She returned to school in 1971. Between January 1971 and June 1972, she attended Abdullahi Bayero college/Ahmadu Bello University, Kano for her GCE ‘A’ Levels. She then proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where she graduated from the Faculty of Law with Honours in 1975.

She was called to the Nigerian bar on the 3rd of July, 1976. That same month, she proceeded to serve her fatherland at the Ministry of Justice, Kaduna under the National Youth Service Corps until July 1977. She is blessed with 6 children comprising three males and three females and several grandchildren. Her late father had earlier extracted promise from her husband that his daughter would be allowed to complete her education after marriage and this he fulfilled.


On completion of her National Youth Service, His Lordship joined the public service as Pupil State Counsel Grade I. Following her service at the Ministry of Justice in Kaduna, she was elevated to the Bench; first as Magistrate Grade I, then Senior Magistrate I & II before becoming Chief Magistrate II all between 1980 and 1985 in the Kaduna State Judiciary. It was during this period that she attended Yale University, Connecticut, USA as a Visiting Scholar for 3 months.

In 1986, she continued her career in the Bauchi State Judiciary first as Chief Magistrate I and then as Deputy Chief Registrar to later become Acting Chief Registrar. Her late husband, Prof. Abubakar Yaya Aliyu began his career as a Research Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos. He later transferred his services to Ahmadu Bello University and rose to become a Professor before the age of 40. However, he died in 1987 when she was appointed a Judge of the High Court of Bauchi State.

She married Ambassador Adamu Bulkachuwa in 199. He is now the Sarkin Bai Katagum and the District Head of Bulkachuwa.

In 1996, when Gombe State was created, she had the unique honour of being appointed as Chief Judge of Gombe State Judiciary from January 1997 to December 1998. In 1998, she was elevated to the Federal Judiciary as Justice of the Court of Appeal. Between 2005 and 2012, she was Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal until she became the Acting President of the same Court in November 2012. She was eventually confirmed as the President of the Court of appeal on the 17th of April, 2014. By that appointment, she became the first Woman in the Legal history of Nigeria to serve as the President of the Court of Appeal.

This Legal Luminary’s contribution to the Nigerian Judiciary is unquantifiable. She has devoted her years to the selfless service of our great nation while also playing the role of a mother to 6 children and the lovely wife since 1991 of Ambassador Adamu Bulkachuwa.

In recognition of her service to the Judiciary and to the nation, His Lordship was awarded the Title of the Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2007/2008. In 2014, she was honoured with the award of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). Hon. Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa is a recipient of several awards from various organizations.

Over the years, His Lordship has not only actively worked in the Nigerian Judiciary; but has played several oversight functions and participatory roles on numerous platforms which include:

Legal Adviser, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN) 1988 -1990
President OSOQUES, Bauchi State 1992 – 1996
President OSOQUES, Gombe State 1996 – 1999
Member, Board of Governors of the National Judicial Council 1997 – 1998
Member, Body of Benchers 1997 – 1998
Member, Advisory Judicial Commission 1997 – 1998
Member, National Executive Committee, OSOQUES 1999 – 2006
President, National Association of Women Judges 2000 -2003
Initiator of the Jurisprudence of Equality Project 2001 – 2008
Member of the Nigerian Rule of Law Assistant Project Coordinator 2003 – 2005
Acting Chairman of the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee. To Date
Our astute Jurist is a member of the following bodies:

*National Association of Women Judges, *Body of Benchers, *Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee, *Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute, *National Judicial Council, *Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee and *Federal Judicial Service Commission.


His Lordship enjoys Reading, Travelling and Cooking.

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