The Supreme Court yesterday dissociated the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, from a purported planned meeting with the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, in London.
An online medium had reported that the CJN met with Tinubu in London.
The report further said the CJN disguised in a wheelchair and was wheeled into an aircraft to London.
But debunking the report, the Supreme Court’s spokesman, Festus Akande, said the report was false.
He said though the CJN travelled out of the country, he was out for medical care and not for meeting with the president-elect.
Akande said, “The only time the CJN travelled earlier this year was on January 25 when he travelled for the lesser hajj in Saudi Arabia. He returned on January 29.”
Also speaking on the controversy trailing the alleged meeting, a senior lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), said the top jurist was in London solely for medical reasons.
Raji stated that the alleged meeting between Tinubu and Ariwoola was false and aimed at tarnishing the image of the apex court.
He stated that Justice Ariwoola travelled to London on Saturday for his routine medical check-up and returned to Nigeria on Thursday morning.
He said the report was another malicious attempt by some individuals to tarnish the image of the Supreme Court and the CJN after they had made attempts at attaching his name to some political parties to preempt the outcomes of the legal tussles before the apex court.
“It has been in the news since Tuesday evening that Tinubu was traveling to Europe for medical reasons as well as for lesser hajj. Further reports indicated that he is in France to meet with his medical doctor. Why would somebody now link that to the CJN that has left Nigeria for the UK since Saturday to observe his own medical session and just came back today (Thursday) as meeting?
“Our politicians need to allow due process to take control. Election matters are in the law courts, but that does not mean that the law lords will not live their normal lives as human beings. Tinubu is in France and the CJN was in London. Where is the contact?” He queried.
No Iota Of Truth In The Fake News, Says APC Campaign
On its part, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council has said there was no iota of truth in the online report that resident-elect, Tinubu, and CJN Ariwoola meet in London.
The Council dismissed as unfounded the report on the purported meeting between the duo in the United Kingdom (UK), describing it as fake news.
In a statement by its director of Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, the APC campaign team said there was no iota of truth in the report that CJN Ariwoola disguised himself to meet with Tinubu.
Describing the said report as fake, misleading and malicious, Onanuga said, “Our attention has been drawn to the grossly fake, misleading and malicious story about the Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola disguising themselves to meet President-elect Bola Tinubu in London.
”The story was a pure concoction from the hallucinating minds of hatchet men bent on creating doubts and public distrust about the legitimacy of our recent election, which was won by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“We refute emphatically that there has been no clandestine meeting between the President-elect and the respected Chief Justice of our country, anywhere. It’s pure fabricated news, groundless in fact and authenticity.”
Onanuga further stated that the report was deliberately concocted by those he labelled as opposition positions to mislead Nigerians.
He noted: “To show that the story was a mere salacious fiction, meant to draw traffic to the discredited purveyor, it claimed the Chief Justice left Nigeria for London on 11 March, on a wheelchair to board a plane.
“The President-elect left Nigeria on March 21 – 10 clear days thereafter. What kind of appointment or secret meeting will the two men have arranged in London, with so wide disparate arrival dates, except in the imagination of the false news merchants?
“We can confirm that the President-elect, who left Nigeria Tuesday has not been in London. He is right now in France to have a deserved rest, after a hectic campaign that began in January 2022. He will go to London thereafter before proceeding to Mecca for the lesser Hajj.”
The APC campaign council urged Nigerians not to be dissuaded by the fake news being spread by the opposition.
“As we move towards inauguration on 29 May 2023, Nigerians should expect more false and salacious news from a section of the Nigerian media, on the payroll of the opposition.
“We urge the media once again to cross-check their information from the President-elect’s media office before rushing to press,” Onanuga added.
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