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JUDICIARY

Anti-opening Grazing Law: Miyetti Allah Heads to Appeal Court

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Federal High Courts
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By Taiye Agbaje

The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Social-cultural Association, has approched the Court of Appeal in its bid to upturn the Federal High Court Judgment which refused its challenge of the Anti-open grazing law being implemneted bythe Benue state governemnt.

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had on July 4, presided by Justice Okon Abang declined to stop implementation of the law enacted by the Benue State House of Assembly in 2017.

In dismissing the Suite however, Justice Abang awarded N100,000 cost in favour of each of the 14 defendants in the case and ordered that the fines be paid before the plaintiffs could appeal agaisnt the judgment.

The appellants in the case include the Fulani group, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodojo and Mr Saleh Alhassan, while the respondents are National Assembly, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, Benue State House of Assembly and the Benue government, among others.

In the notice of appeal filed on July 30, the plaintiffs sought from the Court of Appeal ”an order allowing the appeal and an order setting aside the lower court’s judgment and ordering a re-hearing of the matter before another judge of the lower court.”

They raised 10 grounds of appeal.

The appellants argued that the lower court was in error in holding that they had no valid originating summons even when they filed an amended one.

”The appellants filed an irregular and voidable amended originating summons on the  May 31 without payment of the default tees.

”Yet the lower court held that the originating summons is invalid and a nullity.

”It is trite law that a mistake of counsel cannot be visited on the litigant especial when it is pardonable and the irregular amended process filed on the May 31 is before the court and the lower court have the duty to ensure that the suit of the appellants is heard on the merit.

”The lower court ought not to shut out a litigant by dismissing his claim when the process of court is amended in error without seeking extension of time to amend same.

”More so all the respondents have filed their various counter affidavits against the originating summons.

”The failure to pay the default fees or filing fees for the amended originating summons filed on May 31 only made it at worst a voidable and not void or a nullity.

”The lower court can order the payment of the default fees pursuant to the relevant Rules of the lower court,” they said.

According to them, the under assessment or failure of payment of default filing fees cannot be a basis of punishing the litigant with an order of dismissal of the suit.

“The non-compliance with order 17 rule six of the lower court civil procedure Rules have nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the lower court.

”The low court determined the substantive suit at the interlocutory stage of the suit by holding that the 4th defendant IawfuIIy enacted the Grazing Prohibition ad Ranches Establishment Law 2017 ad further held that the law was duly assented to by the Governor of the Benue in a ruling tagged as judgment,” they said. (NAN)

JUDICIARY

Alia Signs Executive Order to Monitor Public Behaviour in Benue 

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Gov. Hyacinth Alia of Benue has signed an Executive Order establishing the Department of Public Order in the Ministry of Justice to coordinate government policies and matters relating to public order.

Performing the ceremony on Friday in Makurdi, Alia said the order was in pursuant of section 14 sub-section (2) of the 1999 constitution and section 10 of the Public Order Act, CAP 382 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He said he inherited a state characterised by widespread criminality and political violence such as kidnappings, murders, intimidation against targeted groups or individuals leading to emergence of local war lords and militia groups.

Represented by the Deputy Governor, Sam Ode, Alia said that those who breach the public rules would pay fines between N20,000 and N500,000 or be imprisoned, depending on the gravity of the offence.

He said the order prohibits all acts of violence, disobedience, lawlessness, and called for strict adherence to it.

“Apart from the grave state of insecurity highlighted above, my administration inherited indiscipline and disorderly public conducts which had been accepted by many citizens as norms, rather than aberrations.

“Incidences of disobedience to traffic light, wrong parking of cars, indiscriminate disposal of waste, loitering at late hour, will all attract penalties,” he said

Justifying the signing of the executive order, Alia said the act was to assist in maintaining law and order in the state.

He said the state was facing several security issues and needed to adopt her own measures in collaboration with security agencies and stakeholders to have a peaceful and harmonious home for all.

“Public order, as you know, is no doubt within the domain of the security agencies and law enforcement agencies which make up the criminal justice system in our country,” he pointed out.

Alia said the executive order reaffirms government’s stand against crime and against disorder.

”We are sending a clear message to those who seek to destroy the peace and harmony of our state.

“We will not tolerate violence, vandalismand any form criminal behaviour in the State,” he warned.

He announced the establishment of a Public Order Advisory Committee with the mandate to advise government on policies, restoration, attainment, preservation and maintenance of Public Order and safety in the state.

He said a Public Order Committee had been established to operate in all the local government areas by collaborating with the advisory committee and other stakeholders for the enforcement of the prescribed public order laws.

Earlier, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Public Order, Mr Fidelis Mnyim, had said that all over the world, there is a law where there is order.

Mnyim explained that the observance of law always go together with public order which is the core responsibility of all governments.

“The duty and responsibility of government is for the protection of lives and property which manifests by way of observance of law and order.

“Section 10 of the public order act has permitted the governor to make such orders.

”Some of the issues that you may see in the public order are in the realm of morality, but, like I said, the section has permitted the governor to do that,” he said.

NAN reports that the order also prohibited extorting money from developers, building on water channels or structures, kiosks, shanties on the right of way, hawking or selling of goods of any kind by the road side.

NAN also reports that the order also prohibits farming on empty unfenced plots of land or in front of any premises or on the street, or by the road side within urban areas.

It also forbids farming on undeveloped areas of Government Offices, Quarters or reserved areas.

It said rallies, wakes and other forms of public gatherings should not hold beyond the hours of 10:pm.

It insisted that any person or group wishing to hold gathering beyond 10 p.m. must seek and obtain permit from the Department of Public Order at the Ministry of Justice.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

Court Adjourns Alleged Forgery Suit Against Ex-NIRSAL MD

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A Federal High Court, Abuja has adjourned a suit filed by the police against Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, former Managing Directing, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, over alleged document forgery until June 8.

Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the case after prosecuting counsel, CSP Celestine Odo, sought an adjournment to enable them out their house in order.

When the matter was called, Odo said though the matter was slated for trial commencement, the prosecution was constraint to ask for further date.

Chief Akin Olujimi, SAN, counsel for Abdulhameed and his co-defendant, Babangida Abdullahi, did not oppose the application for adjournment.

Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter until June 8, June 9 and June 10 for trial commencement.

Reports says that Abdulhameed and Abdullahi were arraigned on March 13 on a 10-count charge before the judge but pleaded not guilty to the counts.

They were, however, admitted to terms of administrative bail earlier granted to them by the police.

NAN reports that the criminal charge, dated and filed Nov. 28, 2023, was marked: FHC)ABJ/CR/555/2023.

In the charge signed by Odo, Legal/Prosecution Section of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, the defendants, and others now at large, were alleged to have, about Oct. 23, 2023, conspired among themselves to commit an offence of forgery.

In count two, the defendants, and others now at large, sometime in Oct. 23, 2023, were alleged to have conspired among themselves to commit the offence.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2){c} of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.

NAN reports that former President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Dec. 1, 2022, fired Abdulhammed on allegations of corruption bordering on agric loans.

NIRSAL, a $500m non-bank financial institution, is a creation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandated to manage agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.(NAN)

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JUDICIARY

 I Wasn’t in my Right Mind when I Made Divorce Pronouncement, Man Tells Court

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A businessman, Kabiru Musa, who was dragged to an Upper Shari’a Court ,Tudun Wada, Kaduna State by his wife , Murja Abdullahi has denied making three divorce pronouncement on her.

Musa denied the divorce, saying he was not in his right mind after two of the couple ‘s neighbours testified that they heard him make the pronouncement.

One of the witnesses, Hauwa Umar, a housewife said that the couple was arguing in the compound when the husband made the three divorce pronouncement.

Earlier, the complainant had brought the matter to court for divorce confirmation.

The Judge, Malam Iliyasu Umar adjourned the matter until May  26 for ruling.(NAN)

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