Legal Nigeria

By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, has deployed 53 out of the 77 judges of the court.

The affected judges are to resume at their new stations on April 12 when the deployment will take effect, according to a circular issued on March 16, 2021 by Justice Tsoho.

The circular said: “Judges newly posted to judicial divisions must assume duty in such places on April 12, 2021.”

An official of the court said the redeployment was a routine administrative exercise, done every two to four years by the court’s Chief Judge.

But the official said more judges were affected in the current deployment than in previous exercises.

A similar action was last carried out by the immediate past Chief Judge, the late Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati, on February 4, 2019, but took effect from February 11, 2019.

Twenty-two of the 84 judges serving in the court then were affected.

This is the first deployment under Justice Tsoho, who succeeded Justice Kafarati and assumed office in July 2019, in acting capacity, before he was confirmed the substantive Chief Judge in December 2019.

By the new arrangement, the court’s most busy divisions – Lagos and Abuja – will now have 10 judges each, including the Chief Judge, who sits in both divisions.

The third busiest division – Port-Harcourt – will now have six judges.By the new posting, three judges – Justices Okon Abang, Ijeoma Ojukwu and Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo – were moved out of Abuja.

Justice Abang is to resume in Warri Division (Delta State), Ojukwu was moved to Calabar (Cross River) while Giwa-Ogunbanjo was redeployed to Abakaliki (Ebonyi).

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who was moved from Abuja to Asaba (Delta) in February 2019, will now operate from the court’s Awka (Anambra State) Division.

Justices Binta Nyako (the court’s second most senior judge), Anwuli Chikere (who is number three), Ahmed Mohammed, Inyang Ekwo, Taiwo Taiwo, and Nkeonye Maha are to remain in the Abuja Division, where they currently sit.

Those moved to Abuja are: Justices Z. B. Abubakar (from Kaduna Division), Obiora Egwuatu (from Kano), Mobolaji Olubukola (from Makurdi) and D. U. Okorowo (from Lokoja).

Justices M. A. Oyenetu, Chuka Obiozor and R. M. Aikawe were moved from Lagos to Owerri (Imo State), Benin (Edo) and Akure (Ondo).

Justices Olayinka Faji, Chukwujekwu Aneke, Muslim Hassan, and Iniekenimi Oweibo are to remain in Lagos where they currently serve.

Those moved to Lagos are: Justices Lewis Allagoa (from Kano), Tijjani Ringim (from Owerri), M. O. Awogboro (from Yenagoa), Akintayo Aluko (from Abakaliki), Daniel Osiagor (from Umuahia) and Peter Lifu (from Osogbo).

Justices E. A. Obile, M. L. Abubakar, and Adamu Muhammed are to remain in the Port Harcourt Division, where they currently sit, while Justices Patricia Ajoku (currently in Ibadan), Phoebe Ayua (in Abakaliki) and Jude Dagat (in Maiduguri) are to move to Port Harcourt.

Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa has been moved to Gombe Division from Yenagoa.

Justice Tsoho, in the circular, directed that judges who ordinarily have to be assisted by another judge, should take charge of the cases in their new divisions without waiting to be issued a fiat.

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