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Age falsification: Ag CJN knows fate May 31

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday adjourned till May 31 to deliver its ruling in a suit filed by a businessman, Tochi Michael, against the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, over an alleged age falsification.

The plaintiff had dragged the acting CJN before Justice Danlami Senchi, sitting at Jabi, Abuja, alleging that the CJN deliberately falsified his date of birth.

In the originating summon with suit number FCT/HC/CV/79/2019, filed before the court in April, Michael alleged that the CJN falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records, including that of West African Examination Council (WAEC), to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.

The plaintiff prayed the court to determine whether the act of the CJN does not constitute a criminal act of perjury, falsification and forgery.

He further prayed the court to determine whether by falsifying his date of birth upon being appointed to Nigeria Bench as a judicial officer, Justice Muhammad had not breached the Constitution  of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The plaintiff also prayed the court to determine whether Justice Muhammad had not breached the Code of Conduct for judicial officers and consequently brought the image of Nigerian Judiciary into disrepute.

In his reliefs before the court, Michael sought a declaration that the defendant falsified his date of birth and that the defendant has desecrated the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.w

He further sought an order directing the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to prosecute the acting CJN for the offence of perjury and any order offence which the court may deem fit.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Friday, counsel to Justice Muhammad, Sam Ologunorisa SAN, informed the court that similarly to what happened at the last sitting on May 21, the plaintiff and his counsel were absent in court without giving any reason for their absence in court.

He said: “It was on record that this court, in ensuring fairness, equity and above all fair hearing, decided that the plaintiff be given another opportunity to appear in court to put a face to the processes filed.

“What we have is an unusual situation that it is the defendant that is begging the plaintiff to come and prove their case.”

The senior advocate said the defendant had filed a notice of preliminary objection with written address as well as a counter affidavit on the merit of the case supported with a written address.

He, therefore, adopted the processes and stated that he was relying on them in urging the court to dismiss the suit.

Ologunorisa argued that the only document relied upon by the plaintiff was a “sheet of paper called ‘Who is who’, which is attached as Exhibit 3”.

According to the senior counsel for the defendant, the document had no author and source. He added that it was a page from an entire book whose author or source was known.

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