The Berom Communities in Plateau on Tuesday applied to the Federal High Court sitting in Jos to join the Federal Government as co-defendants in a N50 billion case filed by a group of people.
The group led by one Ardo Ruwa Inuwa, on behalf of select victims of Plateau crises, alleged that several of their kinsmen were killed aside 1000 cattle, unspecified number of houses and other property lost to several crises right from 2010.
Joined in the suit, in which they are demanding for N50 billion as general damages, is the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as defendant.
But when the case came up before the presiding judge, Justice Dorcas Agishi, on Tuesday for hearing, the Berom communities, through their led counsel, Mr Edward Pwajok (SAN), filed a motion on notice to join the federal government in the case as co-defendants.
Pwajok told the Court that “as Berom people, we have a stake in this case having been mentioned and tagged as the perpetrators of the alleged killings and destruction which informed the institution of the case.
“My Lord, this motion on notice is brought in pursuance to section 9 Rule 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the inherent jurisdiction of this Court,” he argued.
But Mr M.M. Nuruddeen, Plaintiffs lead Counsel, opposed the application and urged the Court to dismiss it for lack of merit.
Nuruddeen said, “My Lord we oppose this application in strong terms and urge your Lordship to dismiss it because it is absolutely devoid of merit.”
“If your Lordship look deeply into the motion or application, you will note that not even one relief is being sought against the plaintiffs; so it is totally empty and void and should be dismissed forthwith,” he pleaded.
Pwajok, however, objected to that line of argument and described the allegations raised in the case that “put the Berom people in very precarious position, having been accused as the perpetrators of the killings and destruction in the crises in Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Governments.”
“May I humbly submit that such a strong and wild allegations that it was the Berom people that killed Fulanis and destroyed their cattle and other property raised serious questions that must be answered whether it is the Berom people that carried the acts.
“My Lord, those questions must be answered before the reliefs are granted or denied
“The fear of the Berom people of such allegations is how the world will look at us and its eventual consequences to our survival and existence.
“We hereby urge your Lordship to discountenance the objection raised by the Plaintiffs’ Counsel and grant our application to join the federal government as co-defendants in this matter, “ Pwajok pleaded.
Also speaking, Mr Abdullahi Inuwa, the lead Counsel to the Federal Government, said “on our part, we are not objecting to the application raised.” Justice Agishi then adjourned the case to Feb. 12, 2020, for ruling on the motion and continuation of hearing.