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Beroms apply to join FG in court over 2010 crises

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The Berom communities in Plateau State have applied to the Federal High Court sitting in Jos to join the federal government as co–defendants in a N50 billion case filed by an interest group.

Led by one Ardo Ruwa Inuwa on behalf of select victims, the group alleged that several of their kinsmen were killed, while 1000 cattle, unspecified number of houses and other property were lost to several crises right from 2010.
 
In the suit in which the Attorney General of the Federation is also joined as a defendant, the communities are demanding the N50 billion as general damages. When the case came up yesterday before the presiding judge, Justice Dorcas Agishi, lead counsel to the communities, Mr. Edward Pwajok (SAN) filed a motion on notice to join in the case as co–defendants.

 
Pwajok told the court “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.

He stated that the motion on notice was brought in pursuance to Section 9, Rule 5 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the inherent jurisdiction of the court. However, lead counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. M. M. Nuruddeen, opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it for lack of merits.
  
According to Nuruddeen, “we oppose this application in strong terms and urge your Lordship to dismiss it because it is absolutely devoid of merits. If your looks 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.”
  
Objecting to that line of argument, Pwajok, described the allegations raised in the case as putting the Berom people in a very precarious position, having been accused of perpetrating the killings and destructions in the crises in Jos South, Barkin Ladi and Riyom Local Governments.

He said, “May I humbly submit that such strong and wild allegations that it was the Berom people that killed the Fulanis and destroyed their cattle and other property, raised serious questions that must be answered.

“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 urged your Lordship to discountenance the objection raised by the plaintiff’s counsel and grant our application to be joined as co – defendants in the matter.”
  
Lead counsel to the Federal Government, Abdullahi Inuwa, said that on their part, they were not objecting to the application. The matter was adjourned to February 12, 2020 for continuation of hearing.


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