Another serious development has emerged which involved a top official of the Nigerian Judiciary being accused of giving false information ahead.
The case is before a court as a suit has been filed against the accused who is the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad whose appointment is yet to be confirmed by the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly after President Muhammadu Buhari penned down his name for the top post.
In this recent development, a 46-year-old businessman, Mr Tochi Michael, sued the acting CJN Muhammad, at a Federal Capital Territory High Court over alleged age falsification. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in the originating summons with suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, the petitioner alleged 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 summons is praying the court to determine whether such act by the acting CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery.
Michael in the originating summons also prayed 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 also prayed the court to determine whether Justice Muhammad had not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of the Nigerian judiciary to disrepute and odium.
The petitioner prayed 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, Mr Sam Ologunorisa (SAN), informed the court that the plaintiff and his counsel were not in the court. Ologunorisa 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.
Justice Danlami Senchi said another opportunity would be given to the petitioner to appear in the court to prove the allegation.
The matter is still pending in court as the plaintiff and his counsel were absent. However, they have been given more time to show up and prove their case.
More developments are expected on the case as time goes on. It will be recalled that Justice Muhammad has been acting after the suspension of former CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegations of corruption for which he is still facing trial.
Meanwhile, Onnoghen has continued to defend himself in the trial he is facing.
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