The Chief Justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, has been revealed to be going through many health problems after it was reported a few days ago that he tested positive for coronavirus.
According to the Peoples Gazette, Tanko is enduring a fiery battle with dementia and complications from heart disease, according to testimony from highly competent Supreme Court sources familiar with her deteriorating state.
Muhammad was transferred abroad for urgent treatment for his illness, which has been kept secret since he took office as Nigeria’s top jurist in 2019, two sources who work closely with him told the Gazette. Our sources spoke under anonymity to avoid being targeted for interacting with reporters on a matter that was being silenced in the Supreme Court.
Mr. Muhammad’s fight against dementia, a disease that causes memory loss, was first manifested when he ordered the appointment of another Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, despite the existence of a substantive registrar, Hadizatu Uwani Mustapha, our sources said.
Another source told the Gazette that the CJN also exhibited another dangerous example of memory lapses when it revealed its plans to “go to the Presidential Village to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo,” a former Nigerian leader, who was mistakenly considered by current President Muhammadu Buhari.
“His illness has been deteriorating and now we are all very concerned that it will be difficult for the man to remember his own name soon,” said the Supreme Court official. “He’s been doing so many dangerous things.”
Before being flown abroad, Mr. Muhammad was transferred to Kaduna because his caregivers felt that it would be easier for people to learn of his ailments if he were allowed to continue occupying his official residence in Abuja.
Another source familiar with the matter said that Mr. Muhammad’s situation had left his son in control of judicial policies in the country, even though they did not have a formal appointment to fill those roles.
The Chief Clerk of the Supreme Court and a senior assistant to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court did not return the Gazette’s requests for comment.
A spokesperson for the National Council of the Judiciary declined to comment on whether its director was being treated for dementia and heart disease.
The CJN’s health problem raises concerns that the heads of the Nigerian judiciary and executive may be suffering from similar cognitive crises.
Last week, the Gazette exclusively reported on President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to withdraw from an interactive session with federal lawmakers to account for his handling of national security.
Sources at last week’s ruling APC national caucus meeting at the Presidential Villa, where Buhari finalized his withdrawal from meeting with MPs, told the Gazette that the move was based on fears that the president could be exposed as too fragile to govern or not mentally aware of the high security situation in the country.
But the president’s handlers maintain that he had no problems with his cognitive abilities despite all the evidence from the country. Muhammad’s allies had taken a similar approach in managing his memory deficiencies.
Ibrahim Saulawa, associate justice of the Supreme Court, had revealed on Tuesday that Muhammad was receiving treatment in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after having contracted the coronavirus.
However, Saulawa’s disclosure was refuted by Supreme Court spokesman Festus Akande, who vigorously argued that the Chief Justice had not tested positive for the viral infection.
Akande did not clarify the reasons for the CJN’s trip to Dubai, as well as his conspicuous absence at a ceremony on Monday, when dozens of high-level lawyers were sworn in.
“The Hon. CJN, that Judge Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad is unavoidably absent from a function is not enough to plunge into this premeditated conclusion that there is now anxiety for his health, ”the Supreme Court spokesman said in a statement Tuesday night. “I want to make it categorically clear that so far there is no medical report available from anyone that indicates that H. CJN has tested positive for coronavirus. “