A human rights lawyer and son of Justice Augustine Paul Bokon Utsaha, the retired President of the Benue State Customary Court of Appeal, Mr. Michael Tarnongo Utsaha is dead.

CITY LAWYER gathered from unimpeachable sources that the younger Utsaha died last Tuesday after a brief illness. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1995, having graduated from the University of Jos.

A source who is familiar with the matter told CITY LAWYER that the vibrant human rights lawyer took ill last December and succumbed to the sickness last Tuesday.

An announcement by the family reads:

The family of Honourable Justice Augustine Paul Bokon Utsaha (Rtd) announces the sad demise of their son, brother, husband and father, Barrister Michael Tarnongo Utsaha, who answered the call of the Almighty God on 14 March, 2023.

Burial arrangements will be announced by the family. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

Brig Gen RT Utsaha
For the family.

Among the early mourners was the Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), Mr. Steve Abar who wrote: “Shocking! @Mike Utsaha was my classmate in UniJos, call mate, a well-respected colleague and friend. He was such a good man. May Heaven prepare for him a resting place. May we all be consoled.”

On his part, a Makurdi-based lawyer, Mr. Kelvin Iorzenda said: “He was a very active human rights activist. He even did cases before the ENDSARS Panel in Abuja and got judgment for his clients. He had a law firm in Abuja all his life but recently moved to Makurdi around 2021 till date.”

Utsaha was until his death the Executive Secretary, Resource & Planning Commission at the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi. He was the Program Officer (Law Justice & Human Rights) at Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) between 2009 and 2011; Project Coordinator at Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, and Provincial Secretary for the Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna.

He was also an Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) Human Rights Fellow, and received a Master of Laws degree in 2005 from the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary. He was married with a child.

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