The Berom Community in Plateau on Tuesday applied to the Federal High Court sitting in Jos to join the Federal Government as codefendant in a N50 billion case filed by a group of Fulani people.
Newsmen report that Fulani community led by one Ardo Ruwa Inuwa on behalf of selected victims of Plateau crises, alleged that several of their kinsmen were killed aside 1,000 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, Edward Pwajok (SAN), filed a motion on notice to join 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 destructions 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, the 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’s totally empty and void and should be dismissed forthwith,” he pleaded.
Pwajok, however, objected to the argument saying the argument “puts the Berom people in very precarious position having been accused as the perpetrators of the killings and destructions 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 fmFulanis and destroyed their cattle’s and other property raised serious questions that must be answered whether it’s 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 it’s eventual consequences on our survival and existence.
“We hereby urged your Lordship to discountenance the objection raised by the plaintiffs’ counsel and grant our application to be joined 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 the application raised.”
Justice Agishi then adjourned the case to Feb. 12, 2020 for ruling on the motion and continuation of hearing.