A previous denial by the Supreme Court of a statement made by the chief justice turned out to be false denial.
The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, in Abuja, dismissed a media report that the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Olukayode Ariwoola, was interrogated by the State Security Service (SSS) over comments concerning five dissident governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This came on the heels of a similar denial by the Supreme Court distancing the CJN from comments he made endorsing Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde’s membership of the G-5 governors.
The governors comprising Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Samuel Ortom (Benue), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Mr Makinde, are pushing for PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu’s resignation.
But despite the Supreme Court’s denial of Mr Ariwoola’s statement, a video of the event later showed Mr Ariwoola indeed made the statement.
The Supreme Court issued its fresh statement on Tuesday in reaction to a publication by People’s Gazette, which reported that the CJN was grilled by SSS over his political remarks in Port Harcourt at a public function.
The court’s director of information and press, Festus Akande, who signed the statement, also denied that five justices of the court demanded Mr Ariwoola’s resignation from office over the G-5 Governors comment.
Mr Akande warned rumour peddlers to desist.
The statement read in part “We have read with dismay and shock a publication with the above caption by an online media outfit, ‘People’s Gazette,’ alleging that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, was grilled by the DSS for the remarks he made in ‘Port Harcourt at a state banquet’ and that ‘five Justices of Supreme Court are calling for his resignation.’
“Just like our earlier press statement debunking this barefaced falsehood and mischievous antics aimed at scoring very cheap and unpopular political gains in this era of aggressive and mudslinging politicking.
“We wish to state in very clear and unmistaken terms, that this is yet another round of the avalanche of lies that have been disingenuously packaged by individuals with unenviable pedigree to malign the character and personality of not just the CJN but several other Judicial Officers that they considered to be too unpliable and principled to be approached for any form of underhand dealings, especially as election cases (petitions) will soon be streaming to the tribunals (courts) for adjudication.
“It has become very obvious that those with sinister motives have perfected plans to unleash all manner of coordinated attacks on Judicial Officers, starting from the CJN with a view to arm-twisting and blackmailing and ridiculing them to silence, ultimately for their ulterior motives.
“For sure, it will only take an undiscerning mind to believe this string of falsehood, misinformation and blackmail. Nigerians are much wiser to fall for this armchair criticism and disingenuous sponsorships of paid crowds who masquerade as ‘civil society organizations’ to help them further their inordinate ambition of gagging and fettering the Nigerian Judiciary so that they could cowardly do their biddings.
“The publication, which was laced with tissues of lies, non-existent sources of information and unsubstantiated claims, clearly showed the unwholesome intentions of the authors.
“For the records, no single Justice of the Supreme has asked the CJN to resign, and no Justice of Supreme Court has or is writing any letter of protest whatsoever.
“This stream of falsehood, as usual, is flowing from the same discredited source that is hell-bent on destroying the Judiciary for some selfish interest.
“The Supreme Court Justices are united and firmly behind the CJN; and are, as usual, all working assiduously to dispense justice without fear or favour.
“Neither the CJN nor the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court or other Courts for that matter, are politicians, so, none of them should be dragged into politics in any form whatsoever.
“Our advice to this set of rabble-rousers whose stock in trade is character assassination via dissemination of false information to create tension and disaffection, is to have a rethink and engage in meaningful productive activities that will move the nation forward. A word is enough for the wise,” the statement said.