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Justice Tsoho: New Face of The Federal High Court



Justice John Terhemba Tsoho
By Mariam Gom

The large gathering of legal luminaries from both the bench and the bar for his swearing-in ceremony on Friday, July 26 was indicative of the high esteem with which he his held in the nation’s judiciary circles.

It was a dream fulfilled for every career person as Chief Justice of Nigeria(CJN), Mohammad Tanko administered the oath of office on Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, as the new Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, in the premises of the Supreme Court.

The brief but epoch-making ceremony opened a new chapter in the career of the new Head of the FHC.

The CJN used the occasion to give a word of advice to the Acting CJ:

“Do not just sit down and be a hearsay person, visit all divisions of your court to know their challenges and think of solutions to the problems” Tanko counselled the new helmsman at FHC.

The CJN urged Tshoho to move round all divisions of the Court across the country so as to avail himself of the challenges facing the divisions.

Besides, he advised  Tsoho to create a sense of belonging in all judges and a better welfare package for the Staff of the court.

The CJN reminded the Acting CJ of the need to be objective in the appointments he might make, adding that he must find out the true character and nature of those to be employed in other to ensure that only those who were ready to work got appointed.

Justice Tsoho’s elevation was sequel to the retirement of Justice Adamu AbdulKafarati, who attained the retirement age of 65 years on July 25, 2019.

Tsoho’s elevation as Acting CJ of the Federal High Court was in accordance with the rule which stipulates that the most senior judge should occupy the office of the CJ when the post is vacant pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Judge.

The Acting Chief Judge comes to his new assignment with an impressive career background that saw him navigate the different strata of the judiciary from  Area Courts, the State High Court and then the Federal Judiciary.

Born on June 24, 1959 Justice John Terhemba Tsoho who hails from Vandeikya LGA, Benue State, attended  St. Anthony’s Primary School, Chenge- Mbaduku, Vandeikya LGA from 1967 -1972 before proceeding to the famous St. Michael’s Secondary School, Aliade  for his secondary education where he graduated in 1977

He attended the Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology, Makurdi  between  1978  and1979 where he sat and passed the Interim Joint Matriculation  Board Examination(IJMB).

In 1980, Tsoho enrolled at the University of Lagos where he graduated in 1984 with Bachelor of  Laws Degree LL.B. (Hons).  He thereafter attended the Nigerian Law School and passed out in 1985 and was called to Bar.

His working experience started with the mandatory National Youth Service Corps(NYSC) programme with Delta Palm Ltd. Port Harcourt as, Company Legal Asst. from August 1985 – 1986.

The budding Lawyer began his private legal practice in  Gboko in  August 1986  but practiced for only three Months before he was appointed Inspector of Area Court, Benue State Judiciary in January 1986.

Tsoho’s career was henceforth on the ascendancy as he was appointed Magistrate in the Benue Sate Judiciary. He rose to the rank of Chief Magistrate, Benue State Judiciary by March 1996.

He also served as the  Chief Registrar, Benue state High Court  in  1997 from where he was appointed Judge, Federal High Court on  November 12, 1998.

As Judge of the FHC, Tsoho served in various Divisions of the Court including Ilorin, Umuahia, Abakiliki, Ibadan, Lagos and the Headquarters in Abuja from where he was appointed the Acting Chief Judge.

Given his impressive career background, its evident that the new Chief Judge of the FHC is well equipped for the job at hand.

Those who know the Acting Chief Judge closely attest to his pedigree as a legal intellectual imbued with philosophical candour,  whose diligence in the administration of justice  ranks him amongst the most respected Jurists in the land.

Having spent over 20 years at the FHC, Justice Tsoho is quite familiar with the challenges of the FHC in particular and the Nigerian Judiciary in general.

The counsel given him by the CJN  to work in harmony with   his brother Justices is one piece of advice Tsoho must take seriously. Fortunately, most of the Justices have worked together with him over the years and many of them have a shared vision; the future of the FHC.

As Tsho settles down to his job, a lot is expected of him. The spectre of corruption, which looms in the horizon of the Judiciary is one issue he would have to take up. Secondly, is the issue of infrastructure. As has been argued severally, the time for computerization of the activities of the Judiciary is long over due if the quick dispensation of Justice will be achieved. As its often said, “justice delayed, is justice denied”.  Tsoho can as well blaze the trail in that direction by computerizing the proceedings of the FHC. He must also take issue of training of Judges and judiciary staff seriously just as the issue of welfare as part of the strategy to wade off  corrupt practices in the system.

As the nation awaits Tsoho to deliver on these important milestones, his predecessor, Justice AbdulKafarati, who bowed out on July 25, can take a deserved rest in retirement with the full assurance that  the FHC is in the safe hands of  somebody whose commitment to the dispensation of Justice is not in doubt.


Court Adjourns Alleged Forgery Suit Against Ex-NIRSAL MD




A Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned a suit filed by the police against Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, former Managing Directing, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, over alleged document forgery until June 8.

Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the case after prosecuting counsel, CSP Celestine Odo, sought an adjournment to enable them out their house in order.

When the matter was called, Odo said though the matter was slated for trial commencement, the prosecution was constraint to ask for further date.

Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel for Abdulhameed and his co-defendant, Babangida Abdullahi, did not oppose the application for adjournment.

Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter until June 8, June 9 and June 10 for trial commencement.

Reports says that Abdulhameed and Abdullahi were arraigned on March 13 on a 10-count charge before the judge but pleaded not guilty to the counts.

They were, however, admitted to terms of administrative bail earlier granted to them by the police.

NAN reports that the criminal charge, dated and filed Nov. 28, 2023, was marked: FHC)ABJ/CR/555/2023.

In the charge signed by Odo, Legal/Prosecution Section of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, the defendants, and others now at large, were alleged to have, about Oct. 23, 2023, conspired among themselves to commit an offence of forgery.

In count two, the defendants, and others now at large, sometime in Oct. 23, 2023, were alleged to have conspired among themselves to commit the offence.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2){c} of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.

NAN reports that former President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Dec. 1, 2022, fired Abdulhammed on allegations of corruption bordering on agric loans.

NIRSAL, a $500m non-bank financial institution, is a creation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandated to manage agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.(NAN)

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 I Wasn’t in my Right Mind when I Made Divorce Pronouncement, Man Tells Court




A businessman, Kabiru Musa, who was dragged to an Upper Shari’a Court ,Tudun Wada, Kaduna State by his wife , Murja Abdullahi has denied making three divorce pronouncement on her.

Musa denied the divorce, saying he was not in his right mind after two of the couple ‘s neighbours testified that they heard him make the pronouncement.

One of the witnesses, Hauwa Umar, a housewife said that the couple was arguing in the compound when the husband made the three divorce pronouncement.

Earlier, the complainant had brought the matter to court for divorce confirmation.

The Judge, Malam Iliyasu Umar adjourned the matter until May  26 for ruling.(NAN)

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Businessman  Arraigned for Allegedly Obtaining N22m  Under False Pretences



Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone

A 44-year-old businessman, Abiola Afunwape, on Monday appeared before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court for allegedly obtaining N22 million under false pretences.

The police charged Afunwape on three counts  but pleaded not guilty.

The prosecutor, SP Kehinde Ajayi, told the court that the defendant committed the offences sometime in October 2023 at No.

  15A Oduduwa Crescent, GRA, Ikeja.

The prosecutor said that the defendant obtained the amount on the pretext of remitting same to one Chief Akinola Disu.

The prosecutor added that the defendant converted the sum to his personal use.

He said that the defendant pretended to an agent of Disu with the aim of extorting Sagelife Laboratories Ltd.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene Sections 287,  380 and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Magistrate, Mrs  Ejiro Kubeinje, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of three million Naira with two  sureties in like sum.

She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and provide proof of tax payment to Lagos State Government.

Kubeinje adjourned the case until June 25 for hearing. (NAN)

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