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FHC @ 50: CJ Commends Tinubu For ‘Promising Hope’ To Judiciary, Says 142,755 Cases Pending Before 95 Judges

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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Tsoho, on Monday commended President Bola Tinubu for “promising hope to the judiciary”.

Tsoho, who declared open the Federal High Court 2023/2024 legal year and week-long 50th-anniversary celebration, also appreciated the National Assembly, relevant judicial institutions and stakeholders for their support and continued cooperation.

“It is our prayer that the bond between us will be strengthened.

“Congratulations once again on this momentous occasion, as we look forward to the next fifty years of justice, integrity, and legal excellence in the Federal High Court of Nigeria,” the CJ said during the session held at the Ukeje Hall of the court.

Tsoho also noted that some concerns were raised by people about the increased jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.

He, however, explained that the court never solicited or canvassed for the increased jurisdiction.

“It is the lawmakers, as representatives of the people, who in their wisdom, have heaped jurisdiction on the court,” Tsoho said, recalling that since 1973, the Federal Revenue Court as it then was, was saddled with handling revenue-related matters including customs, banking, foreign exchange and currency.

Tsoho added that though the court has faced difficulties and welcomed change in the last 50 years, it “has had significant influence on how the law is interpreted; how the legal system is shaped, and how justice is dispensed and perceived”.

The CJ listed some of his contributions since he assumed office to include practice directions on the trial of terrorism cases in 2022 and the appointment of six judges the same year.

“In the year 2020, when the world was ravaged by the Coronavirus, I promptly issued practice directions for the COVID-19 period. This ensured that the Federal High Court was not shut down during the period,” Tsoho added.

He also considered it an achievement that the current number of judges of the Federal High Court is 95 despite the “continuous excruciating financial challenges that we currently face.”

The CJ disclosed to the audience that there were “144,910 cases pending at the end of the last legal year.”

Giving a breakdown of the pending matters, Tsoho revealed it “comprises 42,784 civil cases, 36,061 criminal cases; 41, 447 motions and 24,618 fundamental rights enforcement applications pending at the end of the last legal year.”

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