The suit challenging the composition of the panel of investigations into the Tiv-Jukun crisis in Taraba State has been adjourned indefinitely.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had earlier ordered the Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Kumai Aka’ahs (Rtd) and heads of security agencies in the country, to appear before in court in respect of the ethnic clashes in Taraba State.
They are to appear on Wednesday to show cause why they should not be restrained from continuing with investigations into the Tiv-Jukun crisis in Taraba State.
But at yesterday’s proceedings, the Taraba State governor and the state, represented by Abdul Ibrahim (SAN), said that he had filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection against the suit.
He said that his clients are challenging the jurisdiction of the court on the grounds that the suit ought to be heard in Taraba State.
Other respondents also claimed that they have filed separate objections to the suit and that court processes have not been fully served on all parties involved.
One of the parties, the Chief of Air Staff, in a separate motion on notice, prayed the court to strike out his name from the list of respondents on the grounds that he had nothing to do with the probe panel.
Faced with the problem of incomplete service of court processes, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), applied for a short adjournment for definite hearing of the matter on the grounds that the suit has to do with the enforcement of fundamental rights of his clients.
The trial judge, in his ruling, struck out the motion on notice having not been opposed by respondents in the matter and declined to give a definite date for the hearing of the matter, but instead adjourned indefinitely on the grounds that his vacation period ends Thursday, August 27.
Justice Mohammed said that the case file will be remitted to the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho, for further administrative direction in the matter.
It would be recalled that the judge had made an order while ruling in an exparte application seeking to stop the Commission of Inquiry into the crises between Tiv and their neighbouring communities in Taraba State and Other Related Matters, from proceeding further in its assignment over alleged bias.
The applicants, the Incorporated Trustees of Mzough U Tiv and five others had dragged the respondents to court over the constitution of the probe panel into the tribal clashes in Taraba State.
Other applicants are; President General, Mzough U Tiv and Rtd CP, Mr Ihiagh Iorbee, Hon David Uchiv, Hon. Jacob Gbagede, Hon. Julius Kwaghkar and Dr Yakubu Agbidye.
In the exparte motion filed and argued on their behalf by their lawyers led by Chief Sebastine Hon, SAN, the applicants who sued on behalf of themselves and the Tiv people, including those of Taraba State, prayed the court for an interim injunction restraining the 4th to 12th respondents (chairman, members, secretary and counsel of the panel) from, “taking any further step pursuant to the instrument constituting them as such Commission of Inquiry, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”
They also prayed the court for another interim injunction restraining the 13th to 19th respondents; Chiefs of Defence, Army, Air and Naval Staffs; IG; DG, DSS; Commandant, NSCDC, “from continuing to aid and abet the forceful removal of the applicants and their tribesmen from their ancestral homes and other places of residence in Taraba State, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.”