The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad was conspicuously absent from Monday’s new legal year ceremony of the Supreme Court where he was scheduled to preside over the inauguration of 72 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria.
The absence of the CJN was noticed at about 10.02am when the other 19 Justices of the apex court filed into the courtroom, marking the commencement of the programme.
The reason for Justice Muhammad’s absence was not disclosed as the event began immediately with the administering of oaths to the new SANs.
The event was presided by the next most Senior Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour, in the absence of the CJN.
The inauguration of new SANs has always been held during the ceremony marking the commencement of the new legal year of the Supreme Court, and has always been presided by the sitting CJN.
Justice Muhammad’s absence from the Monday’s event appears to be unplanned as only on December 7, 2020, the Director of Press of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande, disclosed in a statement that the CJN would preside over the event and give an address on the state of the nation’s judiciary as well as the Supreme Court’s plan for the new 2020/2021 legal year.