A Makurdi High Court Judge, Justice Morris Ikpambese, has granted a motion ex parte brought by the people of Tyoshin community in the Gwer-West Local Government Area of Benue State claiming N100bn from six Fulani herdsmen for destroying their farms.
While granting the motion brought by the counsel for the plaintiffs, Justice Ikpambese ordered that the writ of summons be served on the respondents by substituted means. He said the writ of summons should be served in the office of the chairman, civilian joint task force on the Tiv-Fulani affairs in Benue and Nasarawa states in the premises of the office of the deputy governor of the state.
The judge said the summons should also be served by pasting same on the notice board of the High Court of Justice, Makurdi, adding that he was satisfied with the submission of the plaintiff’s’ counsel that efforts made to effect direct service on the respondents had proved abortive as shown by the exhibit before the court.
In the statement of claim, the plaintiffs, led by Mr Shuwem Mnguduguen, alleged that six Fulani herdsmen simply identified as, Alhaji Doka, Alhaji Danka, Alhaji Shagari, Alhaji Dogo, Alhaji Ilo and Alhaji Ibrahim – destroyed their farms and land, demanding that the trespassers should pay them N100bn.
They equally prayed the court to restrain them from further trespass on their land.
It was further gathered that Fulani herdsmen started attacking communities in the Gwer-West LGA in 2011. During the latest attacks, 17 communities were destroyed while unspecified number of houses, farms and stores of harvested crops were destroyed. During a tour of the affected communities organised by the Chairman of the Gwer-West LGA traditional council, Chef Daniel Abomtse, newsmen counted 33 shallow graves of women and children killed in the attacks.
In 2012, hundreds of the herdsmen invaded the local government area and occupied devastated areas with their cattle and allegedly killed the remnants, forcing the then state governor, Gabriel Suswam, to request the presence of soldiers.