By Ralph Izopu
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, has released new Practice Direction, titled: “Federal High Court of Nigeria Practice Directions No. 2 of 2020” for the court.
The objective is to guide the conduct of proceedings in all the divisions of the court across the country.
Justice Tsoho invoked sections 254 of the constitution, pursuant to the provision of Section 2(10) of the Constitution (Fourth Alteration, No.21) Act 2017, which mandates all trial courts in every pre-election matter to deliver judgment within 180 days from the date of filing the suit.
Salient provisions contained in the practice direction are that “save to the extent and as may otherwise be ordered by the Chief Judge, it shall apply to all pre-election matters filed before the Federal High Court of Nigeria”.
It added: “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.
“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.
“Where a party on record petitions, such petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit verifying the contents of the petition.
“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.
“Where the petition is addressed to the , the Chief Judge, the proof of service of the advanced copies on all parties on record and the Judge concerned shall accompany the petition.”
A statement by the acting Information Officer of the FHC, Mrs. Oby Catherine Nwandu, hinted that the Practice Directions, made at Abuja and dated, Friday, the 24th day of July, 2020, took effect from that same date.