The Supreme Court of Nigeria, has clarified that Justice Olokayode Ariwoola, the newly appointed acting chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), was born in 1954 and not 1958 as initially reported.
On Monday, following the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, Justice Ariwoola was sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari as the acting CJN.
Ariwoola is expected to serve in acting capacity until confirmation by the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the national assembly.
At the swearing-in ceremony in the presidential villa, the acting CJN swore to be faithful and bear true allegiance to the federal government, as well as defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, fresh questions have been raised over the credentials of Ariwoola, particularly on the date on which he began school.
On the official website of the Supreme Court, Justice Ariwoola was born in Iseyin, Oyo state, on August 22, 1958 and began his primary education in 1959 at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown.
The above, which implied that he started school only a year after his birth, had prompted speculations about possible age falsification.
The date of birth has now been edited and deleted, replaced by “he was born over 60 years ago”.
The site said he began his primary education less than a year later in 1959 at the Local Authority Demonstration School, Oluwole, in his hometown. He would spend eight years in school before graduating in 1967.
He then moved to Muslim Modern School in the same town from 1968 to 1969 before graduating to Ansar-Ud-Deen high school, Saki area of Oyo, for secondary education.
He earned his law degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1980, and a year later he was called to the Nigerian bar and got enrolled as a solicitor and advocate of the supreme court.
According to section 291 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended), a Supreme Court judge is expected to retire at the age of 70.
Making clarification on the development, the Director of Information of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Dr Festus Aweneri, said the jurist was born in 1954 and not 1958 and that he started his primary school education in 1959.
Also, Festus Akande, the spokesperson of the Apex court, said there is no “disparity” in the age of Ariwoola.
“There is no disparity and I don’t know where those people got that information from”, he said.