The spokesperson of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Festus Akande, has distanced himself from a statement by a justice of the court, Ibrahim Saulawa, that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr Saulawa had at the unveiling of the national headquarters of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) on Tuesday in Abuja said Mr Muhammad was confirmed positive in Dubai.
Although PREMIUM TIMES was not present when Mr Saulawa made his statement, it was reported by other newspapers present.
But Mr Akande in a statement on Tuesday in reaction to a story published by BusinessDay newspaper, said it was not true that Mr Muhammad was very ill and he had no information on the CJN’s COVID-19 status.
He said “there hasn’t been any indication made public or otherwise that has shown any anxiety over the CJN’s health.”
“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,” Mr Akanbi said.
“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.”
Speaking specifically on coronavirus, Mr Akanbi said there was no evidence that the chief justice tested positive to the virus.
“I wish to state categorically clear 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 the Supreme Court a copy of the test result they are referring to in the report,” he said.
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