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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.


CJN  Swear in 23 Federal High Court Judges, Wednesday




Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Olukayode Ariwoola will swear in the newly appointed 23 Judges of the Federal High Court on Wednesday.

A statement by the Director of Press and Information of the Supreme Court, Dr. Festus Akande on Sunday said, the Judges will be sworn in at 11:00 am at the main courtroom of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The new Judges according to the statement are: Dipeolu Deinde Isaac from Ogun State; Ogundare Kehinde Olayiwola from Ekiti State; Agbaje Olufunmilola Adetutu from Lagos State; Musa Kakaki from Kaduna State; Abdullahi Muhammad Dan-Ige from Sokoto State; and Sharon Tanko Ishaya from Kebbi State.

Others are: Salim Olasupo Ibrahim from Ogun State; Yilwa Hauwa Joseph from Gombe State; Wigwe-Oreh Chituru Joy from Rivers State; Owoeye Alexander Oluseyi from Kogi State; Anyalewa Onoja-Alapa from Benue State; Amina Aliyu Mohammad from Katsina State; Abiodun Jordan Adeyemi from Kwara State; Hauwa Buhari from Federal Capital Territory; and Aishatu Auta Ibrahim from Borno State.

The rest according to the statement are Hussaini Dadan-Garba from Bauchi State; Ibrahim Ahmad Kala from Gombe State; Mashkur Salisu from Zamfara State; Onah Chigozie Sergius from Enugu State; Egbe Raphael Joshua from Bayelsa State; Ariwoola Olukayode Jnr. from Oyo State; Ekerete Udofot Akpan from Akwa Ibom State; and Ogazi Friday Nkemakonam from Ebonyi State.

Akande also said, a valedictory Court session will be held on Tuesday, 10th October, 2023, in honour of the late Justice Chima Centus Nweze at the main courtroom of the Supreme Court at 10:00 am.

As customary, he said, the Chief Justice of Nigeria will preside over the session which will, among other things, feature the presentation of tributes by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Chairman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (BOSAN) and President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), in honour of the departed Jurist.

It will be recalled that Justice Nweze died on Saturday, July 29, 2023 in Abuja after a brief illness at the age of 64 years. He was sworn-in as Justice of the Supreme Court on October 29, 2014.

The late Justice of the Supreme Court was born in Obollo, Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State on 25th September 1958 and attended St. John Cross Seminary, Nsukka from 1972 to 1977.

He gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus in 1979 where he graduated with a Degree in Law in 1983. In the same year, he represented the Law Faculty and, indeed, all Nigerian Law Faculties, at the Philip Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition in Washington DC, as the Chief Oraclist.

His Lordship did his NYSC between 1984 and 1985 in Bauchi, after being called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984. He equally had his Doctorate Degree in Law from the same University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

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Tribunal Sacks PDP Lawmaker In Plateau, Declares APC Candidate Winner




National  and State Houses of Assembly election Tribunal has upturned the election of Timothy Dantong of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and declared Moses Dachum of  All Peoples Congress(APC) winner of the March 18, Riyom state constituency of the Plateau State House of Assembly Election.

The Justice B.M Tukur-led panel held that at the time of the election, PDP had no valid structure to fill in a candidate as the party was still in disobedience to a court order of Justice S P Gang of Plateau State High Court delivered on November 26, 2020.

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Tribunal Declares Kaduna Guber Polls Inconclusive




From Nicholas Dekera, Kaduna

The Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Kaduna, has declared the 2023 governorship election in Kaduna state inconclusive.

The tribunal, during its resumed proceeding on Thursday, in a split decision of a ratio of 2:1, declared the election inconclusive and directed that a supplementary election be held by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 90 days.

The three-man panel led by Justice Victor Oviawe therefore, ordered a rerun of election in 24 polling units in seven wards of four local governments consisting of 16,300 registered voters.

The verdict was announced via Zoom after the judges shunned the physical hall.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, in the March 18 election, Isah Mohammed Ashiru had filed the petition challenging the declaration of Senator Uba Sani as Governor.

Ashiru  challenged the election of  Sani as the Governor of Kaduna State on the grounds of alleged irregularities and electoral fraud, saying that its Candidate (Isa Mohammed Ashiru) won the election.

In a press statement by Hon Isah Ashiru on Thursday night, titled

“Tribunal Nullifes Uba Sani’s Election” Ashiru said, the tribunal, based on the majority of 2:1 judges upheld the preliminary objection of the respondent to the effect that the application for pre-hearing was done prematurely  before the service of the last set of petitioners’ reply to the 2nd respondent’s reply to the petition was served. 

“However, the law enjoins the tribunal, as a trial court, to proceed to pronounce on the merit of the substantive suit so that in the event the court of appeal finds that the trial tribunal was wrong in its decision on the preliminary objection, it would have the benefit of pronouncing on the decision of the tribunal in the substantive matter. 

“Accordingly, the trial tribunal finds merit in the aspect of the petitioner’s case relative to the margin of win between the two leading candidates. The tribunal by a split decision of 2:1 accordingly, nullified the election of the governor of Kaduna state, ordered that the Certificate of Return be retrieved and fresh elections be conducted in some polling units in 4 LGAs and the outcome thereof be reckoned with before the declaration of the winner of the governorship election in Kaduna state.  

“I want to again thank the people of the state,”Ashiru stated while urging them all to remain  law abiding while we pursue the appeal process. 

“One thing I can assure the good people Kaduna state is that I will pursue this mandate you freely gave me to its logical conclusion and by the grace of God, victory on our side.”

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