The Court of Appeal has described as “fake news” that a member of the five-member panel handling petitions seeking to nullify the election of President Bola Tinubu has resigned.
The social media has been awash with posts, claiming that Justice Boloukuoromo Ugo had resigned, citing demands to kneecap democracy by siding with President Tinubu in the tribunal’s decision.
The post had earlier claimed, “In a shocking and unprecedented move, Nigerian Justice Boloukuoromo M. Ugo has resigned from the bench, citing demands from the executive branch that he believes would destroy the country’s democracy.
“In a statement, Justice Ugo said that siding with the government on this matter would be the ‘death of Nigeria’s democracy’, and that he could not in good conscience remain silent. His resignation has sent shockwaves through the country and raised serious questions about the state of Nigeria’s democratic institutions. According to Justice Ugo’s statement, he was asked to ‘cripple the independence of the judiciary’ by ruling in favor of a certain political candidate, whom he did not name but is widely believed to be Bola Tinubu.”
However, Bukola Gaar, head of media and personal assistant to the President, Court of Appeal on Thursday dismissed the reports and described the resignation as fake.
Though the justice has not debunked or confirmed the statement credited to him, the appeal court official said the report was not true and should be disregarded.
Also, another senior official of the court described the information as “fake news”, insisting that it was the handiwork of “evil rumour mongers.”
The source, who pleaded not to be mentioned because he was not authorized to speak to the press, maintained that “no such thing happened.”
He said: “I was with some members of the panel yesterday and I can authoritatively tell you that there was nothing like that.
“In fact, we were shocked when our attention was drawn to the fake news. The true position is that parties in the petitions were given time to file and exchange their final written address. They are already doing that.
“Once the process is completed, the panel will communicate a date for the parties to appear in court to adopt their processes after which the petitions will be fixed for judgment.
“So, it is absurd for someone to sit in a corner of his room and concoct lies from the figment of his or her imagination. In fact, our attention was equally drawn to another fake news that a former Governor of Rivers State held a meeting with members of the court, outside the country.
“These are very laughable. How can the honorable justices on the panel travel abroad when they have enormous work pending on their desks? Please ignore the fake news. It is very unfortunate. Hopefully, before the end of the day, the Appeal Court will issue a formal statement on the matter.”
“I believe that unless someone is made a scapegoat, this fake news trend will continue,” the source added.