Appeal Court rules in favour of displaced herders in Jigawa

Mr Jingi and his children
Mr Jingi and his children

The Court of Appeal in Dutse, Jigawa State, on Tuesday, set aside a judgement delivered by an Upper Sharia Court evicting herders from their settlement.

The appeal was filed by Muhammadu Jingi, a herder and resident of Fagam District, Gwaram Local Government Area, through his counsel, Baffa Alhassan and Hafizu Abubakar.

Both men provided free legal services to Mr Jingi and other evicted herders, who are all said to be related.

The respondent was the District Head of Fagam, Auwalu Adamu, who earlier instituted the case at the Sharia court. Mr Adamu claimed the land occupied by Mr Jingi and the other herders after he accused them of failing to renew their annual payment.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the herders were given an eviction notice to vacate their settlement after staying there for about five decades.

Previously, the Sharia court sitting in Gwaram ruled in favour of the district head and ordered the herders to vacate their settlement in Fagam District.

Delivering the lead judgement at the appeal court, Umar Sadiq held that the Upper Shariah Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain such matter.

The judge stated that “All the five Emirate Councils in Jigawa State were the creation of the law. Local Government law cap. L8 Laws of Jigawa State established Dutse Emirate under which the District Head of Fagam is.

One of the herders, Mr Jingi and his lawyer Hafizu Abubakar
Mr Jingi and his lawyer Hafizu Abubakar

The judge said Section 64 of the law clarifies who has jurisdiction over land matters.

Mr Sadiq ruled that “the trial by the Gwaram Upper Shariah Court without jurisdiction is hereby voided; the decision and the consequential order are hereby set aside, the appeal succeeds.”

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After the court session, the appellant’s lawyer, Hafizu Abubakar, said the judgement is well delivered and justice well served.

The court declared that the upper shariah court Gwaram has no jurisdiction to entertain the case and the claimant has no right over the land he claimed, the counsel said.

The respondent’s lawyer, Fa’izu King, said it was unfortunate that the judgement is against his client.

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“I can’t say we’re going to appeal or not considering the well-delivered judgement. We’re going to study the record and decide on the next step,” he said.

Mr Jingi also said the judicial process was perfect.

“Even though I only understand when the judge mentioned my name and my settlement area because I don’t understand English.

“With this judgement, I can now resume activities in the land after two years of idleness,” he said.

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