Court summons Taraba gov, Service Chiefs over Tiv/Jukun crisis

The Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State to appear before it over allegations of bias levelled against him in setting up a probe panel on the incessant communal clashes between the Tiv and Jukun tribes in the state.

Also summoned by the court are the four service chiefs of the country and heads of other security agencies, among others.

The judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, gave the order on Wednesday when ruling on a fundamental rights enforcement suit brought by a group of plaintiffs from the state.

Recall that the plaintiffs comprised an organisation of Tiv Tribesmen, Mdzough U Tiv; Ihigagh Iorbee, its President-General, who is a retired Commissioner of Police, Jacob Gbagede, David Uchiv, Dr Yakubu Agbiye and Julius Kwaghkar.

The respondents joined in the suit and summoned by the court include Governor Ishaku, the Taraba Government, Commissioner of Justice and the Attorney-General of the state.

The probe panel (4th respondent) and the 5th to the 12th respondents, comprising Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, the Chairman of the commission of inquiry, who is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and seven other members, were also invited.

Others, who were sued as the 13th to 19th respondents and also summoned by the court, were the Chief of Air Staff, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Director-General of the Department of State Service and the Commandant-General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Inspector-General of Police.

Justice Mohammed directed the entire nineteen respondents to appear in court on August 26 to show cause, why the Commission of Inquiry set up by governor Ishaku, shouldn’t be stopped from sitting as prayed by the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs through Chief Sebastine, SAN, their counsel, had filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/955/2020 on August 14, alleging that the panel was set up by governor Ishaku in bias against the Tiv people in the state.

However, in his ruling, Justice Mohammed held that he preferred to summon the defendants to appear in court to show cause why the plaintiffs’ requests for an interim injunction should not be granted.

“I hereby, make an order directing all the respondents to appear on August 26, 2020, to show cause on why the prayers being sought by the plaintiffs’ should not be granted,” he ruled.

He also instructed the plaintiffs to serve their motion ex parte, their motion on notice and other processes filed in the case on all the nineteen respondents.

Justice Mohammed directed that hearing notice for the August 26 proceedings be issued and served on the respondents.

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