Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Justice Sylvanus Nsofor, is dead.
His death was confirmed in a statement on Friday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
The 85-year-old diplomat was said to have died on Thursday night at a hospital in Maryland in the US.
In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari commiserated with the family, friends, and associates of the late Nigerian envoy.
According to Shehu, the President also called Mrs Jane, the widow of the retired justice in New York on Friday to sympathise with her over the loss of her husband.
President Buhari described Ambassador Nsofor as “an outstanding judge of rare courage and truth who is not afraid to give justice to whom justice is due”.
Referring to the 2003 presidential election during which Justice Nsofor delivered a minority judgment as a member of the Election Appeal Panel in favour of Buhari as the candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the President said the country would miss people with such exemplary pedigree.
He, therefore, directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with Justice Nsofor’s family on the burial arrangements.
The President also prayed to God to comfort all who mourn the late jurist and grant his soul eternal rest.
Nsofor, who died towards the end of his tenure as the ambassador to the US, served as a justice of the Court of Appeal for 13 years until his mandatory retirement in 2005.
He gave the dissenting judgement in favour of President Buhari who had challenged the election of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo who won his re-election as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003.
Years after the ruling, President Buhari nominated Nsofor to the Senate for confirmation as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US.
But age and fitness of the retired judge to serve was in doubt as the lawmakers rejected his nomination.
President Buhari later renominated him at the end of March 2017 and he was confirmed as an ambassador on June 7 of the same year.
Nsofor, who assumed office as the ambassador to the US on November 13, 2017, succeeded Professor Adebowale Adefuye who also died towards the end of his tenure.