Termites ate my school certificate — CJN Tanko

President Muhammadu Buhari swearing-in New Acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad
President Muhammadu Buhari swearing-in New Acting CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad

Tanko Muhammad, the new head of Nigeria’s judiciary, has said that vicious termites destroyed his primary school certificate.

Mr Muhammad said the termites invaded his home in Bauchi State in 1998 and devoured all documents inside beyond recovery.

“No portion of the certificate was salvaged,” Mr Muhammad said.

The claim was contained in an affidavit which the top jurist submitted to the Senate last week to be confirmed as the head of the Supreme Court.

The specific affidavit has been circulating on social media since Monday night, but PREMIUM TIMES has obtained additional credentials relating to Mr Muhammad’s confirmation from parliamentary sources.

Mr Muhammad swore the affidavit on February 13, 2002, while he was a judge at the Jos Division of the Court of Appeal. He became a Supreme Court judge in 2007.

President Muhammadu Buhari nominated Mr Muhammad as the Chief Justice after he controversially removed Walter Onnoghen in the lead up to the 2019 general elections.

Mr Muhammad, who spent his early years on the bench as a Sharia court judge, immediately faced allegations of age falsification.

The claims said the judge criminally altered his date of birth by three years from December 31, 1950, to December 31, 1953.

Mr Muhammad denied the allegations, and a federal judge later ruled on May 31 that the complainant had no rights to file the lawsuit.

The court also said there was no evidence to back the claim against Mr Muhammad and scolded the complaint, said to be an Abuja-based lawyer, as filing the case to deface Mr Muhammad’s public image as an honourable man.

A N10 million fine was also imposed on the lawyer for instituting a frivolous case in contravention of extant rules of the judiciary. It is not immediately clear if an appeal has been filed.

Mr Muhammad was confirmed by the Senate on July 17 following a dramatic hearing that was overshadowed by his incoherent response to a question about the Supreme Court’s long-standing principle on legal technicalities.

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