Agriculture

Miyetti Allah appeals against court ruling on Benue open grazing law

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The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Social-cultural Association, on Monday, filed an appeal against the July 4 ruling of the Federal High Court Abuja.

The Fulani socio-cultural group, in a suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/527/2017 filed by its Counsel, Mr Aliyu Ahmed and Abdulhamid Mohammed, said it was dissatisfied with the judgment of Justice Okon Abang delivered on July 4 in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/527/17.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Social-cultural Association had challenged the 2017 Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment Law passed by the Benue House of Assembly.

The group had approached the court seeking a mandatory injunction against the state government from implementing the laws as passed by the state’s House of Assembly.

Justice Abang awarded N100,000 cost in favour of each of the 14 defendants in the case, which he said must first be paid by the plaintiffs before they could take any further steps.

The appellants in the case include the Fulani group, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodojo and Mr Saleh Alhassan while the respondents are National Assembly, Attorney General of the Federation, Inspector General of Police, Benue State House of Assembly, Benue government, among others.

In the notice of appeal filed on July 30, the plaintiffs sought from the Court of Appeal ”an order allowing the appeal and an order setting aside the lower court’s judgment and ordering a re-hearing of the matter before another judge of the lower court.”

They raised 10 grounds of appeal.

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The appellants argued that the lower court was in error in holding that they had no valid originating summons even when they filed an amended one.

”The appellants filed an irregular and voidable amended originating summons on the  May 31 without payment of the default tees.

”Yet the lower court held that the originating summons is invalid and a nullity.

”It is trite law that a mistake of counsel cannot be visited on the litigant especial when it is pardonable and the irregular amended process filed on the May 31 is before the court and the lower court have the duty to ensure that the suit of the appellants is heard on the merit.

”The lower court ought not to shut out a litigant by dismissing his claim when the process of court is amended in error without seeking extension of time to amend same.

”More so all the respondents have filed their various counter affidavits against the originating summons.

”The failure to pay the default fees or filing fees for the amended originating summons filed on May 31 only made it at worst a voidable and not void or a nullity.

”The lower court can order the payment of the default fees pursuant to the relevant Rules of the lower court,” they said.

According to them, the under assessment or failure of payment of default filing fees cannot be a basis of punishing the litigant with an order of dismissal of the suit.

“The non-compliance with order 17 rule six of the lower court civil procedure Rules have nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the lower court.

”The low court determined the substantive suit at the interlocutory stage of the suit by holding that the 4th defendant IawfuIIy enacted the Grazing Prohibition ad Ranches Establishment Law 2017 ad further held that the law was duly assented to by the Governor of the Benue in a ruling tagged as judgment,” they said. (NAN)

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