Nigeria’s chief justice resigns amid corruption allegations


ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s top judge has resigned, an aide said Monday, a week after the country’s Supreme Court justices charged the top judge with corruption. Judge Tanko Muhammad denies the allegations.

Justice Muhammad resigned as Chief Justice of Nigeria on Sunday evening, his spokesman told The Associated Press. But he did not provide an explanation for his decision, although local TV stations cited health reasons, citing unnamed sources.

The 68-year-old was appointed Nigeria’s Chief Justice in July 2019, replacing Walter Onnoghen, who was being prosecuted for corruption.

Muhammad’s resignation comes a week after 14 Supreme Court justices wrote a rare letter accusing him of corruption.

The letter claimed that the judges “did not have the privilege of traveling with accompanying persons as was the practice”. He also said the Chief Justice “totally ignored” the judges’ request but traveled with his “wife, children and personal staff”.

The judges said that although the country’s National Assembly has approved an increase in the Court’s budget, “we find it strange” that “the Court cannot respond to our legitimate rights. This is unacceptable!”

Nigeria’s new Chief Justice is expected to be announced and confirmed among the Supreme Court justices in the coming days.

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