…Redeploys Benue indigenes from court
…Returns case file of suit involving herdsmen and Benue govt to CJ
A crisis of confidence has erupted at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court where Justice Binta Nyako reportedly ordered the immediate redeployment of some Benue State indigenes working directly under her.
The Daily Times newspaper exclusively gathered that Justice Nyako who angrily ordered the redeployment of the three Benue staff of the court, hinged her reasons on the grounds that her safety was no longer guaranteed with the embattled staffers.
An anonymous source who would not want his name to be mentioned following the sensitive nature of the case, told our correspondent that the drama started when a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who appeared before her in a suit involving Fulani herdsmen and the Benue State government, requested that the case file be transferred to the acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati for reassignment.
The plaintiffs in the suit: Engr.Saleh Alhassan, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, members of Miyatti Allah Kautal Hore Socio-Cultural Association, had dragged Benue State government before the court following the anti-open grazing law it enacted in May, 2017.
Joined in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Benue State Government, Benue State House of Assembly and the commissioner of police, Benue State.
The applicants in the motion on notice prayed the court to declare that the publication calling for the arrest of members of Miyatti Allah for peace to reign in Benue State was sponsored by the State government through a body known as Benue Youth Movement.
The motion which was brought pursuant to order 2 rule 1(1) of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement of the fundamental human right to personal liberty rights prayed an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents by themselves, agents and privies from harassing, molesting, arresting, abducting and detaining the applicants in any part of the country without compliance with due process of law.
Meanwhile, the respondents in their counter-affidavit vehemently opposed the application. They maintained that contrary to the submissions of the applicants, the respondents never intimidated the applicants.
The defendants through their lawyer Chief Sebastine Hon, SAN, averred that based on their public threats of causing mayhem in Benue State as a result of the passage of the anti-open grazing law, Governor Ortom wrote petitions against the applicants to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector-General of police.
He also avvered that the 3 and 4 respondents did not need to go through any other body, like the Benue Youth Movement to petition against the applicants.
Hon further prayed the court to grant the application in the interest of justice especially in view of the fact that more than one hundred Benue indegenes have been killed by Fulani herdsmen since the applicants issued their threats.
However, when the matter came up for hearing before Justice Binta Nyaka, the lead counsel for the 3,4 and 5 defendants, Chief Hon brought a letter which was addressed to the court by the State Attorney General, Mr. Micheal Gusa.
The letter according to the constitutional lawyer was written with the consent of Gov Ortom.
The letter sought the disqualification of the trial judge who according to them was from the Fulani ethnic stock and that the likelyhood of bias was bound to play out.
Angered by the development, the allegedly judge ordered the redeployment of all Benue State staff mostly of the Tiv ethnic extraction from her court.
Some of the redeployed staff were sighted by our correspondent loitering around the court.
Meanwhile, the case has not been re-assigned to any judge.
When contacted, a Senior court official who would not want his name mention said, ” Actually the staff have been redeployed. But their redeployment may not be connected with what transpired in the Court. I think it was routine postings.