Judiciary

CJN absence at SAN swearing-in sparks concerns on his health status

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There are growing concerns over the absence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad at the swearing in of 72 senior advocates in Abuja. 

These concerns are due to rumours that the 66-year-old CJN has been battling an undisclosed illness that has restricted him from public eye. 

He was last seen at a public event when he inaugurated eight justices of the supreme court on November 6, 2020. 

There have been no official reasons given for the absence of the CJN thus fuelling a report by TheCable that the CJN is down with an illness. 

The online newspaper said that it learnt that the CJN had been ill and was due to be flown abroad for treatment. 

But he could not be flown out as he caught an infectious disease.

The CJN was represented at the swearing-in by Bode Rhodes-Vivour, justice of the supreme court. 

Through the justice, the CJN said, “The judiciary, like no other arm of government, had suffered a great deal of internal and external shocks in the course of the year.

“In the course of the year, we lost some of our colleagues in the bench and the bar.”

“Our own Hon. Justices Karibi Whyte, JSC, CFR and Sylvester Umaru Onu, JSC, CON, died on Friday 23rd May 2020 and Monday 30th November 2020, respectively.

“Similarly, we lost the chief judges of Yobe and Kogi states, Hon. Justices Garba Musa Nabaruma and Nasir Ajana.

“Within the same period, we lost the President, customary court of appeal, Kogi state; Justice Jude Okeke of the FCT high court, former chief judge of Niger state, Jibrin Ndatsu Ndajiwo; retired judge of Lagos state, justice Isiaka Isola Oluwa; justice Maikaita Bako of Katsina state high court; and Justice Fidelis Ngwu of Enugu state judiciary, among others.”

He advised the initiates that the SAN rank requires a lot of effort and also warned that they would need to obey lawful court orders. 

“Obedience of lawful court orders has no alternative in any sane society. A threat to this is simply a call for anarchy,” he said.

“I believe strongly that there is no right thinking citizen of this country who will tread that path of infamy. We must respect and duly observe all the tenets of an enduring democracy.

“Nigeria is not a lawless society and no one, irrespective of his or her status, should turn it into one.

“Most times, some persons who, by sheer stroke of providence, find themselves in position of authority, flagrantly disobey lawful court orders, and even make a boast of it.

“Such acts will henceforth not be condoned. In fact, they will be met with severe consequences. We must extinguish such raging fire before it consumes us.” 

“You must roll up your sleeves and get down to work with unrestrained enthusiasm and dexterity; then you can begin to coast home to victory,” he said.

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