Ayo Irikefe

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Ayo Gabriel Irikefe was a Nigerian judge who was Chief Justice of Nigeria from 1985-1987. He was also the chairman of two major panels constituted by the Murtala and Shagari administration. In 1975, he headed a panel on state creation and later in 1980, he was head of the Crude Oil Sales Tribunal of Inquiry, the tribunal investigated allegations of a missing $2.8b in NNPC funds.

Public service

State creation panel

On August 7, 1975, Justice Irikefe was called on to help the new Murtala admnistration to review the 1967 state creation framework as head of a panel on state creation. The panel in its report, adduced that state creation movements are mostly made vibrant by the view held by the agitators that new states leads to increased development of the areas agitating for it; and the political importance of the movements and the potential for diffusion of political and economic power were important reasons for state creation during the period. The panel recommended various suggestions many of which were approved by the Murtala adminsitration leading to the re-organization of Nigeria from 12 states to 19 states on February 3, 1976.

Tribunal of inquiry

On April 16, 1980, in a national broadcast, the then president Shehu Shagari appointed a commission of inquiry into allegations of payments of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation funds into a private account. The inquiry was headed by Ayo Irikefe. The commission was saddled with the responsibility to find out the whole truth about the situation. In its report, the commission was of the view that the Nigerian petroleum coporation was able to account for most of its funds according to stated contracts entered into with oil majors.


  • Suberu Rotimi T. Suberu. The Struggle for New States in Nigeria, 1976-1990, African Affairs, Vol. 90, No. 361, Oct., 1991
  • Nigerian President's Appointment of Inquiry into NNPC's Affairs, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 18, 1980.