Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, of the Supreme Court, is dead.
The justice Ngwuta, 69, died just about three weeks to his 70th birthday on March 30 when he will be due for retirement from the bench.
A statement by the Chief Registrar of the apex court, Hadizatu Mustapha, said Mr Ngwuta died in his sleep at about 2.30am on Sunday.
The statement added that Mr Ngwuta, who hailed from Ebonyi State, had been admitted at the National Hospital in Abuja for about one week before his death.
He was said to have been moved to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital on Friday and was also said to have tested negative for COVID-19 following an investigative test carried out on him at the ICU.
The statement read, “The Supreme Court of Nigeria regret to announce the death of the Hon. Mr. Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, JSC, CFR, by 2.30 a.m. of Sunday March 7, 2021.
“He felt sick and was admitted in the last one week in the National Hospital, Abuja, but before he was moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) of the hospital on Friday March 5 he tested negative to COVID-19 investigative test conducted on him.
“Hon. Justice Ngwuta was due to retire from the Supreme Court bench on attaining mandatory retirement age of 70 years on March 30, 2021.
“His remains have been deposited in the National Hospital mortuary pending the arrangement for his burial.
“Hon. Justice Ngwuta who was appointed Supreme Court Justice on March 22, 2011 was born on March 30, 1951 in Amofia-Ukawu, Onicha Local government of Ebonyi State.
“His lordship had his basic education in the Eastern part of Nigeria and got his LLB in University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), lle-Ife in 1977 and BL at the Nigerian law school in 1978.
“May the late Hon. Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta rest in perfect peace and grant his family, judiciary and the apex court to bear the irreparable loss.”
Justice Ngwuta was among the judges whose homes were raided by the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) in October 2016 over corruption allegations.
He was subsequently charged with money laundering at the Federal High Court in Abuja and breaches of code of conduct including assets declaration infractions at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in 2017.
The charges were later struck out following a novel judgment of the Court of Appeal that prohibited serving judicial officials of being prosecuted without first being investigated and disciplined by the National Judicial Council.
Mr Ngwuta, who was along with other affected judges placed on suspension following the raid on their homes by security operatives, was recalled in 2019.