From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
There is controversy over the health status of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad who is presently in the United Arab Emirates.
While a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa on Tuesday disclosed that the CJN has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande has dismissed the report as untrue.
The CJN was absent on Monday at the swearing-in of the 72 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) which also marked the 2020/3021 new legal year of the apex court.
He was represented by Justice Bode Rhodes Vivour who presided over the ceremony.as the most Senior Justice on the bench.
Justice Ibrahim Saulawa disclosed the COVID-19 status of the CJN on Tuesday at the unveiling of the national headquarters of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) in Abuja.
However, a statement by the Director of Press and Information, Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande has dismissed reports surrounding the health of the CJN as untrue.
Akande who was specifically reacting to a story by a national daily (Not Daily Sun) with the caption Re-Anxiety over CJN’s Health, misses SAN’s Inauguration described it as sheer falsehood.
In furtherance to the above statement in reference, Akande specifically stated that “there is no medical report so far made available by anybody indicating that the Hon. CJN has tested positive for Coronavirus. Those peddling the rumour should go a step further to confirm from their sources and equally obtain the copy of whatever laboratory test result they are relying on.
“As of this moment of issuing this statement, no one has so far shown me or any other person in Supreme Court a copy of the test result they are referring to in the report.
His earlier statement reads: “It’s necessary to state that there’s no iota of truth in the claim being peddled by the publication, as there hasn’t been any indication made public or otherwise that has shown any anxiety over the CJN’s health.
“This is obviously a product of the imagination of the author of the concocted story which has literally failed the test of sound, investigative journalism as no form of enquiries were made by the Reporter before hitting the public domain with this baggage of falsehoods to mislead the public by crying wolf where none is in sight.
“The Hon. CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad being unavoidably absent at a function is not enough to plunge into this premeditated conclusion that there’s now “anxiety over his health.”
“The other aspect of this monumental falsehood is the erroneous claim that the “CJN has not been seen in public for weeks.” We are still at a loss as to where the Reporter got that malicious information from, as the CJN has been very active and even presided over the swearing in of the newly appointed Justices of the Supreme Court a few weeks back.
“It should be noted that no business survives on falsehood. You cannot whip up sentiments through sensational reports to attract traffic to your media organisation. Certainly such practice leads to nowhere. We must eschew acts capable of eroding our good values at all times.”