Kuteb drag Taraba State government to court over chieftaincy tussle

By Callistus Agwaza, Jalingo

Stakeholders of Kuteb ethnic group in Takum local government area of Taraba State have dragged the Taraba State Governor Dr Agbu Kefas, the Taraba State government and the Attorney General of Taraba State before a Jalingo High court challenging the appointment of three third class Chiefs and the proposed appointment of a first class Chief of Takum on rotational basis.

The plaintiffs, Sule Audu, Auwal Ibrahim and Rimamnyang Boyi Ahmadu in an originating summons through their counsel, Barrister, Festus Idepefo (SAN) urged Justice Ali Bappa Abbare of the Jalingo High court to among others, issue a declaration of the court that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 did not establish new chiefdoms in Takum.

It also sought a declaration of the court that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 did not establish the office or stool of Chief of Takum of first class grade to which a person can be appointed.

The suite also seeks a declaration of the court that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 did not create the stool or office of chief of Takum who can be appointed a president in council of the Takum traditional council.

It also seeks the declaration of the court that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 did not establish the stool of’ “Gar’ Chamba, ‘Tsohon’ Jukun and “kwe” Kuteb Takum to which any person can be appointed.

Another prayer was for the court to make a declaration that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 that there exists the stools or offices of ‘Gar’ Chamba, ‘Tsohon’Jukun and “Kwe” Kuteb Takum to constitute membership of Takum Traditional Council established by the provisions of section 3 (1) (a) of the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law of 2024.

The plaintiffs also urged the court to make a declaration that the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 did not abolish the stool or office of Ukwe Takum.

It also prayed the court to declare that the provisions of section 18 of the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 did not override the provision of all extant laws relating to the existence and recognition of Ukwe Takum.

Above all, the suit seek an order restraining the defendants from interfering with the stool and palace of Ukwe Takum which evolves for native laws and customs of Kuteb people.

It further sought an order restraining the defendants from demolishing the palace of Ukwe Takum or taking any step to wipe away the Ukwe Takum palace.

They further seek for an order restraining the defendants from interfering or exhuming the remains of past Ukwe Takum namely; Ukwe Ahmadu Gankwe, Hassan Gankwe, Ibrahim Zorto Audu Gankwe and Ali Ibrahim Kuffang 11 from their graves in the premises of Ukwe Takum palace.

The suit finally seek an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants from appointing any person into any of the offices listed as members of the Takum traditional council by section 3 (1) (a) of the Taraba State Establishment of one rotational first class chief and three third class chiefs Law No 01 of 2024 as no chiefdom is created for their existence by the said law.

Meanwhile, The Kuteb Yatso of Nigeria (KYN) the umbrella body of Kuteb world wide has disassociated itself from the purported publication by a faceless group that address itself as the Kuteb Peace Movement.

Comrade Emma Ukwen, President of the KYN said this during an interaction with journalists in Jalingo on Tuesday that it was only the Kuteb Yatso that was mandated to speak for the Kuteb people and not any group.

He described the purported Kuteb Peace Movement as a faceless and non existent entity, created by government propagandists to confuse the unsuspecting public.

Ukwen insisted that the Danladi Rimande who claimed to be the coordinator of the psudo group is an imagenary name. “We are already in court so why should anybody in his senses fabricate a story to say that we have conceded to the charade done by the government”.

The KYN President called on the public to disregard that press statement coming from a group which had been instigated by the enemies of the Kuteb people to downplay the serious injustice mated against them.

President Ukwen said, “I know that the said Danladi Rimande is a ghost, a faceless entity doing the bidding of the state government and Chamba tribe. If they are a true group, let them show their faces let the Kuteb people see them.” He said.

According to Ukwen, the said group even contradicted itself by saying that the Kuteb put up demands and said they have accepted rotational system for the First Class Chief and still said that they are trying to bring Kuteb elders to dialogue. The question is, who accepted the rotational system and made the so called demands” he queried.

“The KYN which is the umbrella body of Kuteb worldwide is the only body authorised to speak for the Kuteb. For the avoidance of doubts, the KYN is not aware of any such dialogue or demands and have stated our position, which reflects the position of the Kuteb Worldwide as it is built in the suite at a Jalingo High Court.

“We want to state categorically that the Kuteb people worldwide are united in our resolve to resist any attempt by the state government to bastardise the revered stool of Ukwe Takum. We are a peace loving people and will explore every legal options to scuttle this broad daylight injustice.

“We also call on the general public to be weary of this propaganda by the government and its machineries to create a false impression that the Kuteb have accepted this invitation to chaos.

“We would never allow anyone to destroy our heritage. Posterity will never forgive us. Generations unborn will not forgive us if we allow this to be” Ukwen insisted

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