Taraba Clashes: Court Summons Ishaku, Security Chiefs, Panel
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday summoned the Governor of Taraba State, Darius Ishaku, the nation’s four service chiefs, and heads of other security agencies, among others, over allegations of bias levelled against the governor in setting up a probe panel on the incessant communal clashes between the Jukun and Tiv tribes in the state.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed issued the order directing the entire 19 respondents to appear in court on August 26 to show cause why the Commission of Inquiry set up by the governor should not be restrained from sitting as requested by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs, who accused the Taraba State governor of showing hatred against the Tiv people in the state, comprised an organisation of Tiv tribesmen, Mdzough U Tiv, its President-General, Ihigagh Iorbee, who is a retired Commissioner of Police, and four others representing the Tiv people in Taraba State.
Four other plaintiffs are David Uchiv, Jacob Gbagede, Julius Kwaghkar, and Dr Yakubu Agbiye.
The probe panel, officially named, ‘Commission of Inquiry into the crisis between Tiv and their Neighbouring Communities in Taraba State and other related Matters Thereto’, sued as the 4th respondent, was among those summoned by the court.
Also summoned were the 5th to the 12th respondents, comprising the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry, Justice Kumai Aka’ahs, who is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and seven other members.
The rest, who were sued as the 13th to the 19th respondents, and also summoned by the court, were the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director-General of the Department of State Service, and the Commandant, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The plaintiffs, through their counsel, Chief Sebastine Hon (SAN), had filed their fundamental rights enforcement suit filed on August 14, 2020 and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/955/2020, alleging that the Commission of Inquiry was set up by the Taraba State governor in bias against the people of Tiv in the state.
They argued that the composition of the Commission of Inquiry sued as the 4th to the 12th respondents was likely to breach the fundamental right to fair hearing of the applicants.
They added that the chiefs of the security outfits sued in the case “are, till date, aiding and abetting the 1st respondent (the governor) in the genocidal eviction of the applicants’ Tiv tribesmen from Taraba State”.
But ruling, the judge held that he preferred to summon the defendants to appear in court to show cause why the plaintiffs’ requests for interim injunction should not be granted.
He also directed that hearing notice for the August 26 proceedings be issued and served on the respondents.