‘Vicious Termites Ate Up My School Certificate’ – Nigeria’s Supreme Court Justice...

‘Vicious Termites Ate Up My School Certificate’ – Nigeria’s Supreme Court Justice Says

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Walter Onnoghen Newly sworn in acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed and President Muhammadu Buhari
Newly sworn in acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed and President Muhammadu Buhari | State House Photo

Tanko Muhammad, Nigeria’s Supreme Court Justice, has said that “vicious termites” destroyed his primary school certificate.

Justice Muhammad, in an affidavit which he submitted to the Nigerian Senate last week, 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 court document, which Muhammad used in his Senate confirmation hearing, hit the Nigerian social media space on Monday, July 22, 2019.

An online newspaper, Premium Times, has also obtained additional credentials relating to Justice Muhammad’s confirmation which the paper said was obtained from sources in the National Assembly.

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.

A former Sharia court judge, Muhammad, also 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.

Additional reports by Premium Times.

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