Nigeria: Judiciary in a Mess as Fresh Scandal Hits CJN

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) administration under President Muhammadu Buhari, appears to have succeeded in putting the Judicial arm of the Nigerian government in a big mess.

The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, is currently battling to redeem his integrity. A businessman, Tochi Michael, has dragged him before a Federal Capital Territory High Court over an alleged age falsification.

In an originating summon with Suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, the petitioner is alleging that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth.

Michael alleged that the CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records, including that of WAEC, to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.

The petitioner in the originating summon is praying the court to determine whether such act by the acting CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery.He is also praying the court to determine whether by falsifying his date of birth upon being appointed to the Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer, he has not breached the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The petitioner equally wants the court to determine whether Justice Mohammad had not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of the Nigerian judiciary to disrepute and odium.

While he is praying the court for a declaration that the defendant falsified his date of birth and that he had desecrated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he also prayed for an order directing the Inspector-General of Police to prosecute the defendant for the offence of perjury and an any other order which the court may deem fit.

At the Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel for the CJN, Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), informed the court that the plaintiff and his counsel were not in the court. He also told the court that it seemed the plaintiff and his counsel were “running away” from the suit they filed, stressing that the court should do the needful in the interest of justice.

“We filed a notice of preliminary objection, a counter-affidavit and a written address. We urge the court to deem it fit that the originating summons has been argued. We have to look at Exhibit III of the originating summons. We urge the court to dismiss the suit. The case is meant to scandalise the CJN”, he said.

While Justice Danlami Senchi said another opportunity will be given to the petitioner to appear in the court to prove the allegation, he adjourned the case till Friday.

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