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Court Dismisses Age Falsification Suit Against Acting CJN

Date:

Justice Danlami Senchi of the Abuja High Court has dismissed a suit, seeking the prosecution of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Mohammad, over allegations of forgery and perjury.

The Court also awarded damages in the sum of N10 million against the plaintiff and at the same time, urged the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mrs Hadizatu Mustapha, to consider disciplinary action against his counsel.

The plaintiff, Tochi Michael, had alleged that Justice Muhammad deliberately falsified his date of birth from December 31, 1950 as contained in all his official records including that of WAEC to December 31, 1953 upon his appointment as a judicial officer.

Senchi, in his judgment, dismissed the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff lacked ‘’Locus Standi’’ (not qualified in law to institute the suit).

According to the Judge, the plaintiff ought to have brought the suit before the court by way of writ of summons and not originating summon.

In addition, Justice Senchi held that there was no evidence before the court to prove the plaintiff’s case that the acting CJN, reduced his age from December 31, 1950 to December 31, 1953 as claimed in the suit.

Justice Senchi also held that Tochi did not specify in the originating summons, the special interest he has in the suit, adding that the claimant has no ‘locus standi’ to institute such action.

“There is nowhere in the document before the court where the plaintiff has been injured by the defendant, the claimant also did not disclose much information about himself.

“Where a suit was not commenced with due process of the law, it was quite clear that this suit was commenced by way of originating summon instead of writ; the plaintiff has failed to show the court necessary documents to show that the defendant falsified his age.

“I hereby declare that the date of birth of the defendant is December 31, 1953 and not December 31, 1950; this suit is hereby dismissed in its entirety,’’ Senchi held.

According to the Judge, the attitude of the plaintiff’s counsel, Mr Melkizadeck Zaro, was meant to scandalise, malign and destroy the person of the acting CJN and the entire judiciary.

The Judge, however, urged the Supreme Court to commence action against the plaintiff’s counsel for supplying false information to breach the law.

Justice Senchi also awarded N10m fine against the claimant to serve as deterrent to others who are bent on carrying false information and must be paid within three weeks from the day of the judgment.

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