Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday nominated Aloma Mariam Mukhtar as the next Supreme Court chief justice, the first time a woman has been named to the post.
Jonathan submitted her nomination to the senate, requesting an "expeditious" confirmation process.
"I have the honour to forward the nomination of Honourable Justice Aloma Mariam Mukhtar for confirmation as Chief Justice of Nigeria," said the presidency letter.
The 68-year-old Mukhtar, who already sits on the top court, has for several weeks been tipped as a likely successor to Chief Justice Dahiru Musdapher, who is retiring this month.
Nigeria's oil and finance ministers are among the most high-profile female leaders in the country, but Mukhtar's nomination will likely be applauded by civil society groups who have voiced concern over glaring gender disparities.
In a report released last week, the British Council and Department for International Development (DFID) warned that Nigerian women "have significantly worse life chances than men and also sisters in comparable countries".
Mukhtar was born in Kano state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, where gender inequality is most acute, according to the report.
Only 3% of females from the north complete secondary school, while more than half are married by the age of 16.