Chief judge, Tsoho transfers Nigeria Air, airlines’ suit to Lagos

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho has reversed the decision to transfer the suit file by some airlines against Nigeria Air to Abuja. The matter is now to continue at the Federal High Court, Lagos and no longer at Abuja High Court.

Reversing the decision, Justice Tsoho faulted the judgment of Justice J.K Omotosho, alleging that counsel to Nigeria Air concealed some facts that rendered the judgment given by Justice Omotosho null and void.

According to the case file in respect of the said suit is remitted to the Federal High Court, Lagos for hearing and determination of the pending application for transfer by Hon. Justice Lewis-Alagoa.

He referred Omotosho to a letter dated May 4, 2023, on the subject matter with reference, “Re: Judgment in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/271/2023 between the registered trustees of Airline Operators of Nigeria & ORS V.J.T Tsoho (Chief Judge of Federal High Court).

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He noted that on May 4, 2023, on the above subject matter, it had reported delivery of judgment in the aforementioned suit by Hon. J.K. Omotosho on April 27th, 2023, dismissing the said suit for a lack of cause of action and abuse of court process.

The plaintiffs in the said suit challenged the first defendant, J.T. Tsoho-Chief Judge of the Federal High Court who acted in his judicial capacity by transferring the suit No. FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 from Lagos to Abuja judicial division.

While noting the dismissal of suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/271/2023, “May I humbly draw your attention to my earlier letter addressed to you dated March 9, 2023, particularly to paragraphs 8, 9. And 10 thereof regarding suit No. FHC/L/C/1999/2022. This is to the effect that non-disclosure by your clients that there was a pending motion for the transfer of the case while making an administrative application for the same effect, rendered the application fundamentally flawed.”

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“As a result, I resolved to reverse the transfer of the case, but for the pendency of suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/271/2023. Therefore, following the dismissal of suit number FHC/.ABJ/CS/271/2023 by Hon. Justice Omotosho the transfer of suit number FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 is hereby cancelled.”

“Accordingly, the case file in respect of the said suit is hereby remitted to the Federal High Court, Lagos for hearing and determination of the pending application for transfer by Hon. Justice A. Lewis-Allagoa”.

The airline operators had brought the suit against the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court challenging the transfer of their suit from a Federal High Court in Lagos presided by Justice A.L. Allagoa to Abuja.
They joined as respondents in the suit, Chief Judge John Tsoho; Nigeria Air Ltd, Ethiopian Airlines, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The operators had instituted a lawsuit against the promoters of Nigeria Air over the deal between the Federal Government and Ethiopian Airlines, which the group said would be anti-competitive against domestic airlines.

They said Ethiopian Airlines was allowing the former minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika to use their company to disobey a court order, a situation that would not be allowed in Ethiopia.
Wole Shadare