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Chief Judge yields to pressure, assigns Benue Jukun suit against state government, others as hearing comes up 10 July

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Benue State Governor Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia

By our reporter

The suit instituted by the National Association of Jukun Wanu (NAJUWA) against Benue State Government and five others have been assigned and comes up on Wednesday, 10 July, 2024 at High Court 5A, Makurdi, Benue State.

This followed pressure from the solicitors of NAJUWA that assigning the suit has been unduly delayed.

Those sued with the Benue State Government are the office of the Benue State Governor, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Benue State House of Assembly, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Benue State and HRM, Orchivirigh Professor Ortese James Ayatse, the Tor Tiv and President, Benue State Council of Chiefs.

Solicitors to NAJUWA, Falana and Falana’s Chambers have complained to the Chief Judge of Benue State over the non-assigning of a suit involving its client.In a letter of complaint dated 18, April, 2024, the Chambers expressed dismay over a case filed on 2, February, 2024 and yet to be assigned.In the letter signed by Samuel Ogala Esq for Principal Partner, it informed the Chief Judge that the claimants and all Jukun Wanu indigenes are already agitated by the non-assignment of the case hence the need to act urgently on the letter by exercising its administrative powers by assigning the suit to a court for adjudication.

NAJUWA sued the office of the Benue State Governor, Benue State Government, the Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Benue State House of Assembly, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Benue State and HRM, Orchivirigh Professor Ortese James Ayatse, the Tor Tiv and President, Benue State Council of Chiefs over decades of discriminatory policies against Benue Jukun.

The Jukun people are highly cultural

NAJUWA declared that by virtue of the provision of section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the people of Jukun Wanu are indigenes of Guma Local Government, Makurdi Local Government and Logo Local Government Area of Benue State and citizens of Nigeria and as such are entitled to equal protection under any law made in Nigeria including Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Council Law 2016, that by virtue of the provision of section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the people of Jukun Wanu whom are indigenes of Guma Local Government, Makurdi Local Government and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State are entitled to freedom from discrimination on the basis of the circumstances of their birth and that by virtue of section 25 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the respondents are not competent to make any law or adopt any policy which discriminates against the people of Jukun Wanu whom are indigenes of Benue State in any manner whatsoever and howsoever.

The Claimant declared that the exclusion of Jukun Wanu whom are indigenes of Guma Local Government, Makurdi Local Government and Logo Local Government of Benue State from Schedule 5 and 6 of Section 18(1) of the Benue State Council of Chiefs and Traditional Council Law 2016 is illegal and unconstitutional.NAJUWA averred that its members are Jukun Wanu (Riverine Jukun) whom are indigenes of Benue State whose ancestral origin can be traced to many communities in the state.

According to it, these communities include but not limited to Abinsi, Agyogo (Makurdi) Akatungu (North Bank), Agyetashi, Azhoko (Ankwa), Abweni, Anmor (Fiidi), Ando Sede (Bajimba), Anuwha, Atenge and Anyishi.Others are Asugu, Gidin Mangoro, Akatsu, Agbodo, Zhamindo, Ashuku, Kitsani, Aguye and Asokpoga among others.

NAJUWA are requesting for N1 billion as damages for prolonged act of discrimination against Benue Jukun.

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