Chief Sabastine Tartenger Hon, is an expert in constitutional law, he has many books to his credit. Recently he was appointed as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Benue State University, Makurdi after serving as a member for several years. In this piece, Nathaniel Gbaoron, MoneyCentral’s Northern Bureau chief writes on his success in the legal profession among others.
True to the time honoured postulation by the renowned Elizabethan scholar, William Shakespeare, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. Whichever side of one’s reference frame, this saying sufficiently finds accommodation in the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Benue State University, Makurdi, Chief Sabastine Tartenger Hon, SAN FCIArb.
Sabastine Hon has, through sheer hard work, dedication, humility and fear of God, broken into the league of well respected and highly rated household names in Nigeria. He is a man who has distinguished himself among his contemporaries in terms of character, competence, courage, credibility and integrity. Indeed, these sterling qualities are the hallmarks of greatness and have also endeared him to the people within and beyond Nigeria.
A man of many good parts, Sabastine Hon is well known for his legal prowess. He is also a prolific author, dynamic and versatile consultant of Constitutional Law, philanthropist and a deep rooted Christian.
Born on December 9, 1967, at the police barracks in Kano, Northern Nigeria, Chief Sabastine Tar Hon, SAN, is the second son of late Elder Michael Igba Hon and Mama Regina Angorngee Hon, from Mbayion in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue state.
Also known variously as ‘S.T. Hon’, ‘Tar Hon’ or ‘S.T’, he attended St. Francis Primary School, Gboko; Kings Comprehensive College, Mkar, Gboko; School of Basic Studies, Makurdi; University of Jos, Jos, and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos after which he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991. Chief Tar Hon undertook his compulsory National Youth Service (NYSC) between 1991 and 1992 with the Law firm, Enefiok Udoh & Co (Barrister & solicitors) No. 148, Oron road, Uyo.
Upon completion of the NYSC programme, Chief Sabastine Hon had a brief stint with Matthias Zwabo & Co., Gboko and later moved to Gembu in Taraba State where he set up his Law firm, S.T Hon & Co (Gaskiya Chambers), No. 88/89, Amadu Bello Way.
S.T. Hon who has practised law as Barrister and Solicitor in all strata of Courts and Tribunals in Nigeria, including the Supreme Court, has combined law practice with relentless book writing; and as at today, he has authored and published several texts some of which are reference materials in all courts of law in Nigeria.
Some of the books are:
- Management of Primary Schools at the Third Tier of Government in Nigeria: A legal manual (Based on Decree No. 3 of 1991; and published in 1992 during his Youth Service). He was a co-author.
- Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence in Nigeria (Based on the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and published in 2004).
- Law of Evidence in Nigeria Substantive and Procedural (published in 2006). This is one of the most constantly referred to and utilized books by lawyers, judges and legal researchers in Nigeria and beyond. One major feature of the book is that even before the 2011 amendment that ushered in the current evidence act and its provisions authorizing admissibility of computer generated evidence, the book had already utilized section 5 of the 2004 evidence act, which provided that evidence which was admissible in foreign countries was admissible in Nigeria to urge strenuously that computer-generated evidence was admissible in Nigeria-since it was admissible in some other countries.
- Civil Procedure in Nigeria (Federal High Court, State High Courts and FCT Abuja High Court) Vol. I (Published in 2008).
- S.T Hon’s Law of Evidence in Nigeria, Vols I and II (1st Edition published in 2012, 2nd Edition, published in 2013, while the 3rd Edition, compressed into a single volume, is being printed currently). This book has earned S.T Hon the enviable position of a leading authority on the Law of Evidence in Nigeria.
- S.T Hon’s Constitutional and Migration Law in Nigeria (Published in 2016). This is the first Nigerian book to discuss migration law.
The views expressed by the Vice-President, Prof. Osibanjo, SAN, about the author during the public presentation of the book is hereby reproduced as follows:
“Since 2013 when I started reading books written by Sabastine Hon, I have discovered that he is fearless and forthright. He discusses topics not covered by any other author in Nigeria and takes a strong position, backed up with good arguments. He is still a young man and I believe the sky is just his beginning. I am a Professor of the Law of Evidence. I used to think I was the wisest when it comes to the Law of Evidence, but since I started reading S.T Hon’s Book on Evidence, I have realized he is wiser than me. I honestly commend him for the weightily contributions he has made to the development of law in Nigeria.”
In view of his unquantifiable contributions to the development of law in Nigeria, the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee, in 2008, elevated Sabastine Tartenger Hon to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN. He was the only applicant elevated that year as an academic, owing largely to his quite onerous task of combining research and book writing with legal practice.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, the highest any person can attain in arbitration. This was on November 21, 2014; and that is why he adds the acronym FCIArb after his name.
Chief S.T Hon has been recognized for his sterling contributions to the development of Law in Nigeria and has been appointed and served without lobbying in any form in the following capacities:
- Member, Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Appeal Committee (2013).
- Member, Court of Appeal Rules Drafting Committee (2011-2016).
- Member, Advisory Committee on the Bayelsa State High Court Rules;
- Chairman (and later Consultant), Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Port Harcourt branch (2012-2014).
- Alternate chairman (National), Editorial Board, Nigerian Bar Association (2012-2014).
- Member, Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (2019-date).
Chief Sabastine Tar Hon has contributed immensely to the development of Benue State and Nigeria at large. He has influenced the employment and appointment of many Nigerians at local, state and national levels. In recognition of his massive exploits as a Lawyer, Author and consistent contributions to the well-being of humanity, Gboko Traditional Council, in 2017, conferred on him the honorific title of AFA ATINDI U GBOKO. His immediate Community, Mbayion, in 2019, bestowed on him the award of SEMA WAN U MBAYION.
It is not in doubt, that these numerous achievements and contributions of Chief Sabastine Tar Hon, SAN has not gone unnoticed in the eyes of the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom. Until his appointment by the Governor as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Benue State University, Makurdi, S.T Hon was a Member of the Council.
With this appointment and inauguration on September 14 2021, by the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, Chief Sabastine Hon SAN, will no doubt deploy his wealth of experience to turnaround the fortunes of the prestigious Benue State University Makurdi.
Chief Sabastine Tar Hon is a responsible family man married to his heartthrob, Chief Mrs. Felicia Ngufan Hon, and the marriage is blessed with three children.
Hon, is a distinguished Nigerian who is a thorough researcher, dynamic and versatile Constitutional Lawyer, a bundle of humility and extraordinary Tiv son who passionately loves humanity.
He is also a philanthropist and administrator par excellence, Chief. Sabastine Hon SAN, FCIArb, Afa Atindi U Gboko, Sema Wan u Mbayion.