N50bn suit: Court admits Plateau natives as co-defendants

A Federal High Court sitting in Jos on Wednesday admitted Plateau natives as co-defendants in a N50 billion  suit filed against the Federal Government by a group.

Justice Dorcas Agishi, made the order in her ruling on an earlier argument whether or not the ”Berom” natives are “necessary parties” in the suit.

“The Berom natives, live in the Communities in Jos South, Jos North, Barkin Ladi and Riyom where the alleged atrocities were committed against the Plaintiffs, therefore, they (Beroms) are necessary parties in this suit, ” the judge declared

Justice Agishi explained that for the Fulani to have alleged in their claims that it was the natives that perpetrated the acts of killings, it’s expedient that they be allowed to join.

“These are serious and weighty allegations against the Berom people, so in my view, they (Beroms) are necessary parties in this suit.

“Their (Beroms) inclusion in the matter is very essential as it will enable the Court to settle the matter amicably.

“Therefore, in my view, the applicants (Beroms’) application to join in the suit as co-defendants, has merit and so they are allowed,” Agishi declared.

The judge adjourned the case untill March 17 for hearing.

The group, led by Ruwa Inuwa, on behalf of selected victims of Plateau crises, had alleged that several of their kinsmen and 1,000 cattle were killed while they lost unspecified number of houses and other property from 2010.

Joined in the suit is the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Dec. 10, when the case came up for hearing, the Berom natives, through their lead counsel, Edward Pwajok, SAN, filed a motion on notice to join in the case as co-defendants.

Pwajok, who expressed satisfaction with the ruling of the Court, applied for an adjournment to enable “the plaintiffs amend their writ and serve their reply in due course.”

Although, M.M. Nuruddeen, the plaintiffs’ lead counsel, had opposed the application and urged the court to dismiss it for lack of merit.

According to them, “having been tagged as the perpetrators of the alleged killings and destruction, which readily informed the institution of this suit, we believe we’re necessary parties.”  (NAN)