PROFILE: Justice John Tsoho — Chief Justice of the Federal High Court

On Friday, July 26, 2019, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, swore in Justice John Terhemba Tsoho as acting Chief Judge (CJ) of Nigeria’s Federal High Court.

His appointment followed the retirement of Justice Adamu AbdulKafarati, who attained the retirement age of 65 years on July 25.

Mr Tsoho’s elevation as acting CJ of the Federal High Court was in line with the rules that enable the most senior judge to occupy the office of the CJ when the post is vacant pending the appointment of a substantive chief judge.

Although Mr Tsoho was appointed in an acting capacity, he will most likely be confirmed substantive chief judge of the court.

Justice Tsoho, who hails from Benue State in Nigeria’s North-Central geo-political zone, was born on June 24, 1959, and appointed a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998.

Born June 24, 1959, at Mbaduku Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State, Justice Tsoho, now 60, has up to five years to retire.

Justice Tsoho attended St. Anthony’s Primary School, Chenge- Mbaduku between 1967 and 1972 when he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.

He obtained his West African School Certificate from St.Michael’s Secondary School, Aiide, where he schooled between 1973 and 1977.

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For his Advanced Levels study, coordinated by the Interim Joint Matriculation Board, Mr Tsoho attended Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology, Makurdi, between 1978 and 1979.

In 1980, he enrolled at the University of Lagos where he obtained his Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B Hons) in 1984.

He was called to the Nigerian bar in 1985 after attending the Nigerian Law School, Lagos.

On graduation, the young Mr Tsoho was posted to Delta Palm Limited Port Harcourt, for his compulsory National Youth Service scheme.

On completion of his youth service in 1986, he plunged into private legal practise before taking up a job in the Benue State judiciary.

Between January 1986 and December 1987, Mr Tsoho served as an inspector of Area Courts.

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But in January 1988, he was appointed a magistrate in the Benue State judiciary. By the time he left that position in March 1996, he had risen through the ranks to become a chief magistrate.

In between his role as magistrate, Mr Tsoho served as an arbitrator in a contractual dispute during the period of February 1994 and June 1994.

On October 9, 1997, he was appointed acting Chief Registrar of the Benue State High Court, a position he held until he was appointed a judge of the Federal High Court on November 12, 1998.

Justice Tsoho says he enjoys reading, jogging and listening to music.

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