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CJN Travelled for Medicals, Never Met Tinubu, Says Nigeria’s Supreme Court

Ariwoola was seen on Friday with a retinue of aides walking into a waiting SUV at the apex court chambers to attend Jumat prayers.

The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed report of a purported meeting between the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola and the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, in London.

The apex court through its spokesperson Dr. Festus Akande, who spoke with THISDAY on the alleged meeting that has gone viral in the social media, remarked that there was no iota of truth in the report.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Tinubu winner of the February 25 presidential election, having scored majority of lawful votes cast at the poll.

However, four political parties and their presidential candidates are protesting against Tinubu and his party, the All Progressives Congress’ victory and have gone ahead to file their respective petitions in court.

Only few days ago, Tinubu, according to his media aide, Tunde Rahman, travelled to the United Kingdom “to rest after the rigorous campaign and hard-won victory at the poll.”

But before Tinubu’s travel report could settle down, news of his alleged meeting with the CJN took over the social media.

Responding, the apex court’s spokesperson noted that there was no connection between the CJN’s trip and that of Tinubu.

Akande pointed out that contrary to claims by the report that Ariwoola travelled out of Nigeria on 11 March to the United Kingdom, to meet with the president-elect, “the CJN has been in Nigeria, and presided over meetings of the National Judicial Council (NJC) held on 16 and 17 March.”

It would be recalled that the CJN had chaired a meeting of the National Judicial Council (NJC), held between March 16 and 17, where the decision to suspend the Chief Judge of Taraba State, Philibus Andetur, from office on account of misconduct.

He added that it was after the NJC meeting that the CJN, in company with NJC’s Secretary, Gambo Saleh, travelled to London on 18 March for medical care.

“On 23 March, the CJN returned from his medical trip to London and later reported in the office (in Abuja), where he worked till 8p.m,” he said.

Akande revealed that prior to the CJN’s London trip, Mr Ariwoola notified President Muhammadu Buhari of the trip.

“The only time the CJN travelled earlier this year was on 25 January, when he travelled for Lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia. He returned on 29 January, 2023,” the Supreme Court spokesperson explained.

Meanwhile Ariwoola was seen on Friday with a retinue of aides walking into a waiting SUV at the apex court chambers to attend Jumat prayers at a mosque within the precincts of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Alex Enumah in Abuja