By G9ija

Ibrahim Muhammad, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) has said that no external influence in the handling of  an appeal by the Rivers state government on the value-added tax (VAT) controversy.

Rivers state Government is seeking a supreme court ruling setting aside an order of the appeal court which directed the state to maintain status quo on the collection of VAT pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

According to TheCable there are plans to arrange a UK trip for the CJN before a panel is constituted to determine the appeal. In his absence, Mary Odili, the No 2 in the supreme court hierarchy and former first lady of Rivers state, will appoint the members of the panel.

Reacting to the report, the CJN, in a statement signed by his senior special assistant on media, Isah Ahuraka, pointed out;|

“It must be borne in mind that the supreme court justices are not only independent minded but also has the pedigree of integrity devoid of influences from within and outside. Times without number, the apex court panel came up with split decisions,”

“We unequivocally state that the CJN is hale and hearty. Last week, he interrogated the seven chief judges involved in the granting of conflicting court injunctions, spanning over seven hours. This is just as he presided over the National Judicial Council (NJC) meeting on Wednesday and Thursday this week,” he said.