After 22 Years Of Legal Tussle, Village Gets Landmark Judgment

A chieftaincy dispute in Plateau State that had lingered for 22 years in the courts was, at the weekend, laid to rest, as High Court Judge, Justice David Mann, delivered a judgment in favour of Da Zang Jik of Loshom family.
The dispute started when on July 20, 1993, Da. John Gyang Bot of Lokasen family approached the court and laid claim to the Shen stool, suing the President, Jos North, Jos South and Barkin Ladi Traditional Council; Jos South Local Government Council; Anthony Sambo, of Loshom family and Da. Zang Jik.

While the suit pended, according to one of the parties, the two original plaintiffs died and were substituted by Bot. In the same vein, the original third defendant, Da Sambo Zi, passed away and was substituted with Mr. Anthony Sambo. The fifth defendant reportedly died in September 2013 and was consequently struck out of the case.

In the course of the proceeding, Bot, through his counsel, Mr. Francis Okafor, urged the court to hold that there are two ruling houses in Shen village of Jos South namely, Loshom and Lokasen from which the Village Head of Shen is elected or selected. The defendants, through their counsel, Mr. Arome Okwori, said that many of the documents pleaded by the plaintiff were not tendered and witness statements were abandoned.

Having perused the arguments by both parties to the suit, Justice Mann ruled in favour of the defendants, noting that there is only one ruling house in Shen Village, which is Loshom stool. He added that the plaintiff failed to prove the case to convince the court to have its sympathy as the pleaded claim by the plaintiff couldn’t survive the test of time.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the peace presently being enjoyed in the ancient town of Wukari, in Wukari local council of Taraba State may be thwarted, following the alleged forceful acquisition of land measuring about two hundred hectares from the community by the state government.

The land, which presently houses the Federal University, Wukari, was said to have been allegedly forcefully taken from the community without due process by the former governor.

Though the community, as reliably gathered by The Guardian, has dragged the state government, the university and other parties concerned, to court for unlawful trespassed on the land. Youths in the area have beckoned on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, call the state government to order before they would be compelled to react.

Some of them who bared their minds to our reporter felt at the way and manner the state government took the said land without the knowledge of the landowners, majority of who are peasants. When contacted, the state governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku, through his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Sylvanus Y. Giwa, said he has not yet been briefed on how the land was acquired.

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