Justice John Tsoho, Chief Judge of the Federal High Court (FHC) of Nigeria, on Tuesday, directed all judges currently handling pre-election matters to continue sitting during the vacation period until judgment is delivered.
Justice Tsoho gave the order in a new practice directions issued entitled: “Federal High Court of Nigeria Practice Directions (No. 2) 2020 made available by acting Information Officer of the court, Oby Catherine, in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the court’s annual vacation bagan on July 27 and would end on Sept. 25.
Nwandu said the directive was in the exercise of the power conferred on the chief judge “by Section 254 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended) and pursuant to the provision of Section 2(10) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Fourth Alteration, No.21) Act 2017, which amends the provision of Section 285 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) mandating all trial courts in every pre-election matter to deliver judgment within 180 days from the date of filing the suit.”
She said the salient provisions contained in the new practice directions are as follows:
“That these Practice Direction shall, save to the extent and as may otherwise be ordered by the Honourable Chief Judge, apply to all pre-election matters filed before the Federal High Court of Nigeria.
“Nothing in the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019 shall prevent a Judge of the Court from hearing a pre-election matter already pending before the Court, during the vacation period until judgment is delivered.
“(i) No petition shall be entertained against a Judge of the Court hearing a pre-election matter, save from a party on record in such matter.
“(ii) Where a party on record petitions as in (i) above, such petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit verifying the contents of the petition.
“(iii) the party shall cause same to be served on the Judge and all parties on record, notwithstanding that the petition is addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Judge of the Court.
“(iv) Where the petition is addressed to the Honourable, the Chief Judge, the proof of service of the advanced copies on all parties on record and the Judge concerned shall accompany the petition.”
According to Nwandu, the practice directions, made at Abuja and dated on Friday, July 24, 2020 also took effect from that same date. (NAN)