The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has tested positive for COVID-19.
A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, disclosed this at the unveiling of the national headquarters of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the CJN was receiving treatment in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, was conspicuously absent from the Monday’s new legal year ceremony of the Supreme Court where he was scheduled to preside over the inauguration of 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The absence of the CJN was noticed at about 10.02 am when the other 19 Justices of the apex court filed into the courtroom, marking the commencement of the programme.
The reason for Justice Muhammad’s absence was not disclosed as the event began immediately with the administering of oaths to the new SANs.
The event is being presided by the next most Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, in the absence of the CJN.
Justice Rhodes-Vivour serves as the Deputy Chairman of the National Judicial Council, ranking next to the CJN as the chairman.
The inauguration of new SANs always held during the ceremony marking the commencement of the new legal year of the Supreme Court has always been presided by the sitting CJN.
Justice Muhammad’s absence from the Monday’s event appears to be unplanned as only on December 7, 2020, the Director of Press of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, disclosed in a statement that the CJN would preside over the event and give an address on the state of the nation’s judiciary as well as the Supreme Court’s plan for the new 2020/2021 legal year.