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(Updated) Nigerian Ambassador to US, Sylvanus Nsofor, Dies at 85
Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor, is dead. He died Thursday night at 85.
Though there is no official statement, competent sources confirmed his death.
A retired justice of Nigeria’s Court of Appeal, Nsofor assumed office as Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States on November 13, 2017.
The envoy succeeded Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, who also died towards the end of his tenure as Nigeria’s ambassador to US.
Born on March 17, 1935, in Oguta, Imo State, Nigeria, Nsofor graduated from London’s now-defunct Holborn College of Law in 1962. He also bagged an LL.M from the London School of Economics in 1964.
The late envoy began teaching at Holborn College of Law in 1964 and later went into private practice the following year.
He was appointed to the bench in Nigeria in 1977, and served as a judge of the Imo state High Court. Nsofor was a justice on the Court of Appeal of Nigeria for 13 years until his mandatory retirement in 2005.
Nsofor cast the dissenting vote in a three-justice panel in a contested 2003 presidential race between Muhammadu Buhari, who was presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and the then President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
When President Buhari was elected President twelve years later, he appointed Nsofor as Nigeria’s ambassador to the US, a top and strategic foreign post.
Nsofor was then 82.
His ambassadorial screening at the senate did not go without some drama as he refused to recite the national anthem when asked to do so by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who was concerned about Nsofor’s age and fitness to serve.
“Go and ask Mugabe who is still working,” Nsofor replied senators when his age and fitness became an issue during the screening session.
Nsofor’s nomination was denied but President Buhari re-nominated him at the end of March of 2017.
After another appearance before the senate, he was confirmed to as ambassador on June 7.