The Supreme Court’s Director of Information, Dr Festus Akande, described as a rumour the claim that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, had tested positive for COVID-19.
Akande stated this in a statement which he issued after a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, disclosed at an event in Abuja on Tuesday that the CJN had tested positive for the dreaded disease.
The apex court’s spokesperson had earlier in his first statement on the state of health of the CJN, on Tuesday, denied reports that the head of the Nigerian judiciary was critically sick.
His second statement issued shortly after Justice Saulawa’s comment about the CJN’s coronavirus status hit the media space appeared to be a veiled rebuttal to the judge’s claim.
Akande stated, “In furtherance to the press statement earlier issued, 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 Supreme Court a copy of the test result they are referring to in the report.”
Justice Saulawa had said the CJN had tested positive for the virus 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 CJN was conspicuously absent from Monday’s new legal year ceremony of the Supreme Court during which 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria were sworn in.
In his absence, the Monday’s event was presided by the next most senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour.