Court asserts jurisdiction in suit involving Taraba chieftaincy crisis




A Jalingo High Court has declared that it has the Jurisdiction to entertain the chieftaicy suit instituted by stakeholders from Gassol LGA of Taraba, challenging the appointment of Mr John Sokwa, as the third class chief of the newly created Kwararrafa Chiefdom.


The Taraba government praying the court to dismiss the suit because it was beyond its powers to hear the case.
Delivering a ruling on Thursday, Justice Dauda Buba, held that Section 4 (3) of the chiefs appointment and deposition law of Taraba 2018,may not necessarily mean that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter.


“In the case of any dispute the governor, after due inquiry and consultancy with the persons concern in the selection, shall be the sole judge as to whether any appointment of any chief or head chief is in accordance with this order, “he said.


Buba held that looking at the sub section, the governor shall be the sole judge only after due inquiry and consultation with persons concerned in the selection of the chief or head chief.
He therefore observed that section 4 (3) is not intended to oust the jurisdiction of any court.


“It appears to me that the role conferred on the governor by section 4 (3) is not more than that of an arbitrator who shall take a decision alone after due inquiry and consultation with those concerned with the selection of a chief or head chief.

“Assuming without holding that I am wrong that the intendment of Section 4 (3) is to oust the jurisdiction of the court, then in my view it is in conflict with the provision of the constitution and therefore null and void to the extent of its inconsistency,” Buba added.

Dauda explained that section 272 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended conferred unlimited jurisdiction on the High Court.

The judge also observed that “of particular interest is the provision of Section 4 (8) of the constitution:
Safe as otherwise provided by this constitution, the exercise of legislative powers by the national assembly or by a house of assembly shall be subject to the jurisdiction of courts of law and or judicial tribunals established by law.
Accordingly, he explained that the national assembly or a state house of assembly shall not enact any law that oust or purport to oust the jurisdiction of a court of law or a judicial tribunal established by law.


He noted that in the event of a recalcitrant conduct by the national assembly or a state house of assembly by enacting a law purported to oust the jurisdiction of any court, the constitution is supreme as provided by section 1 (1) of the document.
Dauda therefore, held that Section 4 (3) of the chief’s appointment and deposition law relied upon by the defendants was not intended to oust the jurisdiction of the court
He declared that as a result of the above section of the constitution, the court would hear the case challenging the appointment of Mr Sokwa as the third class chief of Kwararrafa chiefdom.


Court asserts jurisdiction in suit involving Taraba chieftaincy crisis
ON MARCH 5, 20204:01 PMIN NEWS
A Jalingo High Court has declared that it has the Jurisdiction to entertain the chieftaicy suit instituted by stakeholders from Gassol LGA of Taraba, challenging the appointment of Mr John Sokwa, as the third class chief of the newly created Kwararrafa Chiefdom.



The Taraba government praying the court to dismiss the suit because it was beyond its powers to hear the case.
Delivering a ruling on Thursday, Justice Dauda Buba, held that Section 4 (3) of the chiefs appointment and deposition law of Taraba 2018,may not necessarily mean that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

“In the case of any dispute the governor, after due inquiry and consultancy with the persons concern in the selection, shall be the sole judge as to whether any appointment of any chief or head chief is in accordance with this order, “he said.

Buba held that looking at the sub section, the governor shall be the sole judge only after due inquiry and consultation with persons concerned in the selection of the chief or head chief.
He therefore observed that section 4 (3) is not intended to oust the jurisdiction of any court.

“It appears to me that the role conferred on the governor by section 4 (3) is not more than that of an arbitrator who shall take a decision alone after due inquiry and consultation with those concerned with the selection of a chief or head chief.
“Assuming without holding that I am wrong that the intendment of Section 4 (3) is to oust the jurisdiction of the court, then in my view it is in conflict with the provision of the constitution and therefore null and void to the extent of its inconsistency,” Buba added.


Dauda explained that section 272 (1) of the 1999 constitution as amended conferred unlimited jurisdiction on the High Court.

The judge also observed that “of particular interest is the provision of Section 4 (8) of the constitution:
“Safe as otherwise provided by this constitution, the exercise of legislative powers by the national assembly or by a house of assembly shall be subject to the jurisdiction of courts of law and or judicial tribunals established by law.

Accordingly, he explained that the national assembly or a state house of assembly shall not enact any law that oust or purport to oust the jurisdiction of a court of law or a judicial tribunal established by law.

He noted that in the event of a recalcitrant conduct by the national assembly or a state house of assembly by enacting a law purported to oust the jurisdiction of any court, the constitution is supreme as provided by section 1 (1) of the document.


Dauda therefore, held that Section 4 (3) of the chief’s appointment and deposition law relied upon by the defendants was not intended to oust the jurisdiction of the court.

He declared that as a result of the above section of the constitution, the court would hear the case challenging the appointment of Mr Sokwa as the third class chief of Kwararrafa chiefdom.


Ruling on the question of locus standi of the plaintiffs, Justice Dauda said that while there was no averment linking the second plaintiff, Sen. Ibrahim Goje with the Kwararrafa Chieftaincy tussle, same cannot be said of the first plaintiff, Ibrahim Jauro Isa.


“Therefore without much ado, I am of the opinion that the second plaintiff has not shown that he has any locus standi to prosecute this matter”, he said.
He therefore stroke out the name of Ibrahim Goje, the second plaintiff from the matter.

Justice Dauda said on the other hand, the first plaintiff, who had at various times been appointed ward and village head of Kwararrafa, in accordance with native law and custom of the area cannot be said to be lacking locus standi in prosecuting the matter.
“Looking at the above facts vis-a-vis the Kwararrafa chiefdom (constitution) order No. 21 of 2018, I am of the opinion that the First Plaintiff cannot be said to lack locus standi to institute this action.

Justice Dauda said on the other hand, the first plaintiff, who had at various times been appointed ward and village head of Kwararrafa, in accordance with native law and custom of the area cannot be said to be lacking locus standi in prosecuting the matter.


“Looking at the above facts vis-a-vis the Kwararrafa chiefdom (constitution) order No. 21 of 2018, I am of the opinion that the First Plaintiff cannot be said to lack locus standi to institute this action.


News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the plaintiffs had in October 2018 instituted an action against Sokwa, the third class Chief of Kwararrafa Chiefdom in Gassol LGA of Taraba as the first defendant, Gov Darius Ishaku as second defendant and the Attorney General of Taraba State as the third defendant.

The plaintiffs had approached the court to challenge the appointment, enthronement and coronation of Mr John Sokwa as the third class chief of Kwararrafa chiefdom.

Among the eight prayers of the plaintiffs to the court was the declaration of the appointment, enthronement and coronation of the first defendant by the second defendant as unlawful, unwarranted, oppressive and contrary to the laid down practice and procedure of the appointment and installation of chiefs of Kwararrafa.

They were also seeking for an order restraining the first defendant from parading himself as the third class chief of Kwararrafa chiefdom pending the determination of the case before the court.

The plaintiffs urged that the procedure followed by the second defendant in the appointment of the third class chief of Kwararrafa was wrong as he was said to have been brought in from Wukari, in Wukari Local Government area of the State and had no any link with the ruling families of the area under dispute which is also located in Gassol LGA of the state. (NAN)


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