- A prominent pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation has asked the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad to resign
- HURIWA's demands is due to anallegation of age falsification instituted in court against the acting CJN by one Tochi Michael
- The group demanded that the acting CJN excused himself of the duties of the CJN and clear his name or be fired by the National Judicial Council
A prominent pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad to resign.
HURIWA's demands is due to an allegation of age falsification instituted in court against the acting CJN by one Tochi Michael.
HURIWA said the National Judicial Council has already established a precedence that if the head of the judicial arm is facing strong legal challenge strong enough to constitute a cog in the wheel of progress in the administration of the judiciary, then he has to quit or be suspended pending the determination of the matter.
HURIWA said it would amount to double standard should Justice Tanko Muhammad not be suspended whilst he faces the legal challenge that touches on his legitimacy as a jurist of highest standing in Nigeria.
HURIWA in a statement sent to Legit.ng and signed by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and spokesperson, Miss Zainab Yusuf, demanded that the acting CJN excused himself of the duties of the CJN and clear his name or be fired by the National Judicial Council.
Part of the statement read: “Justice Onnoghen was forced out of office even before an allegation of failure to declare assets correctly was determined by a highly compromised Code of conduct Tribunal.
“Tanko Muhammad must be suspended until such a time that he is either cleared or the matter determined one way or the other. If he is convicted then he should be fired.
“Age falsification is a disease that has eaten deep into Nigerian civil service and labour market. The Nigerian labour force is filled with senile and over aged employees. This continues to affect production adversely in our institutions, establishments and businesses.
“Even though, there is no clear cut definition of age falsification as a crime in the Nigeria constitution, a person can still be sent to jail for it because it is an offence to falsify any document.
“In our ministries, agencies, parastatals and even the political class, individuals with fake certificates, age declarations, false asset declarations are holding sway and desecrating institutions that should be sacrosanct, not even the continuous bio-metrics of government have deterred them from these actions.
“We are bound to continue to fail as a nation if we do not sanitise the system and make the offenders of the offence of forgery pay for their crime.”
Michael, a 46-year-old businessman, had dragged the Acting CJN, Tanko Muhammad, before an FCT High Court over alleged age falsification.
In the originating summon with suit No. FCT/HC/BW/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, the petitioner alleged that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth.
He alleged that the CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records including that of WAEC to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.
The petitioner in the originating summon is praying the court to determine whether such act of the CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery.
The petitioner in the originating summon also stated that he is praying the court to determine whether by falsifying his date of birth from December 31, 1950 to December 31, 1953 upon being appointed to Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer he has not breach the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The petitioner is also praying the court to determine whether the CJN has not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of Nigeria Judiciary to a state of disrepute and odium.
The petitioner in his reliefs is praying the court for a declaration that the defendant falsified his date of birth and that the defendant has desecrated the breach of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN).
He is also praying for an order directing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to prosecute the defendant for the offence of perjury and an order which the court may deem it fit.
Meanwhile, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has been asked to bar Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila from contesting for the position of Speaker in the incoming 9th National Assembly.
The court was specifically asked not to allow the lawmaker to stand for the Speakership election, on the allegation that he was convicted for fraud to the tune of $25,000 which he allegedly failed to disburse to his then client in 2003 in United States, where he was practicing as a lawyer.
The plaintiff in the matter, Philip Undie, joined the House of Representatives, Attorney General of the Federation and the All Progressive Congress (APC) as defendants in the suit against Gbajabiamila.
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