Chief Justice of Nigeria Tanko Muhammad has become the latest prominent Nigerian to contract the dreadful Coronavirus (COVID-19).
He is receiving treatment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Justice Ibrahim Saulawa disclosed these at the unveiling of the national headquarters of the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria (MULAN) in Abuja on Tuesday. But, he did not say when Muhammad left Nigeria.
The Supreme Court had earlier in a statement by its spokesman, Dr. Festus Ahande, denied report of anxiety over Muhammad’s health.
The CJN was on Monday absent at the swearing-in of 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). He was represented by Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, who administered oaths to the new SANs.
Justice Saulawa explained that the CJN, who was earlier billed to chair the MULAN headquarters inauguration, was replaced by him because he (Muhammad) couldn’t make it as a result of his health status.
He said: “I stand, not as the chairman of this occasion, but rather in an acting capacity. The chairman (CJN) that has been designated to be here with us couldn’t make it. He has travelled to Dubai and he is still there. That is the wish of Allah.
“I will have to use this (occasion) as a very serious admonition to all of us. Because the very reason that my Lord, the Hon. Justice Tanko could not make it is because of COVID-19. He has tested positive. But, I have just realised that some of us have worn the toga of attitudinal disposition to this calamity, this adversity.”
Saulawa added that some world leaders who had earlier downplayed the existence of COVID-19, had also tested positive for the virus.
The justice warned that nobody was safe, urging Nigerians to obey the protocols developed to curtail the virus.
His words: “The pandemic has ravaged the entire globe. Nobody is safe. We have seen what happened in Brazil when their President jokingly and in the most ridiculous manner, pretended that there was nothing like COVID-19 also known as Coronavirus.”
Supreme Court spokesman Ahande said there was no anxiety in the apex court over the CJN’s health.
Ahande said: “The Hon. CJN, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, being unavoidably absent at a function is not enough to plunge into this premeditated conclusion that there’s now ‘anxiety over his health.”