Nigeria: Abuja Court Dismisses Miyetti Allah's Suit Against Benue's Open-Grazing Law

5 July 2019

Makurdi — The Federal High Court in Abuja thursday dismissed a suit filed by the Miyyetti Allah Kautal challenging the 2017 Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment Law passed by the Benue State House of Assembly.

In a swift reaction, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said the judgment of the Federal High Court, which dismissed the suit, was a victory for justice, democracy and the rule of law.

The court awarded a cost of N100, 000 against the plaintiff to be paid to all the defendants before any other step can be taken in the suit.

The Miyetti Allah Kautal had approached the court seeking a mandatory injunction against the Benue State Government from implementing the laws as passed by the Benue State House of Assembly.

Delivering judgment yesterday, Justice Okon Abang held that the failure of the plaintiff to comply with an earlier order of the court to amend their originating summon was a fault on their part.

The order, according to Justice Abang, was made in December 2017 by a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Bamidele Quadri.

He had ordered the plaintiff to amend their originating summon as there was no valid originating summon before the court.

Justice Abang said the judge had given the plaintiff five days to comply with the order of the court but the plaintiff brought the summons before the court on May 31, 2019.

With this Justice Abang, held that the plaintiff was nonchalant, developed a carefree, attitude and did nothing for upwards of 19 months.

He stressed that the plaintiff treated the court order with disdain and levity.

"For 19 months, since December till date, the plaintiff failed to file the amended originating sermon following an order of a judge of the Federal High Court to do so with five days.

"The plaintiff was in court when this order was made but failed to comply or appeal the order.

"No valid originating summons was filed by them.

"For them to have not done anything for 19months, they should have themselves to blame. The court order remains valid.

"If the originating summons is not filed, there would be no way the defendants would file a counter affidavit.

"The purported originating summons filed on May 31, 2019, is a nullity and should not have been filed.

"In the eyes of the law, there is no valid originating summons filed by the plaintiff.

"Why did the plaintiff not comply with the court order if they know they have a good case?

"The court should not only bark but should also bark and bite and break bones where necessary, but, not the bones of the parties involved in the matter.

"The matter is also an abuse of court processes, where the court process is abused, the suit should be dismissed.

"The plaintiff suit is hereby dismissed with a cost of N100,000 to be paid to all the 14 defendants before taking any other step," the judge ruled.

Meanwhile, Ortom has said the judgment was victory for justice, democracy and the rule of law.

Ortom commended the country's judiciary for proving once again that it is indeed the last hope of the common people.

He stated that the judgment affirmed the fact that the law was duly enacted and it is in the interest of all Nigerians who wish to go into livestock business in the state.

The governor, on behalf of the government and people of the state, appreciated individuals and groups, as well as all other Nigerians who supported the state while the case lasted.

Ortom restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring that implementation of the ranching law guarantees peace in all parts of the state.

He urges Miyetti Allah groups and other livestock owners to embrace ranching which is the global best practice of animal husbandry.

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