Friday 22 December 2023


By: Valentine Adese (JP) and Ronke Raji,

The hearing of suit No: PLD/J257/2023, filed by the 17 suspended Local Government Council (LGC) Chairmen and their Councilors was stalled today, 22/12/2023 on the ground that the 3rd and 4th Defendants, (the Speaker and the Plateau State House of Assembly) respectively, have not been severed the amended processes of the 1st and 2nd Defendants (the Plateau State Governor, Caleb Mutfwang (Esq) and the State Attorney General), and secondly, that the 3rd and 4th, have not entered appearances in the matter yet.

The Plateau State High Court hearing the matter presided over by Hon. Justice Samchi, has therefore adjourned the matter to the 10th of January, 2024, for a definite hearing, while ordering the 1st and 2nd Defendants to file and serve their amended processes today, 22/12/2023.

Earlier, the Counsel representing the 1st and 2nd Defendants, D. P. Mann (Esq), had told the Court that the Defendants have complied with the Court order partly, but also out of time.

He said, “The matter is for hearing. On our part, we have not fully complied with the order of the Court. We have amended our processes as ordered by the Court, though out of time. We have a Motion to regularize same.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able pay the penalty for the Motion for being out of time. We have gone to the registry, but the officer is not there.

“We have, however, effected service on the Claimants already. Unfortunately, we have not been able to serve the 3rd and 4th Defendants with our amended processes.

“Earlier this morning, we requested for the bailiff of the Court and we were told he has not resumed for him to effect the service of the processes. The service of Court processes is very crucial to adjudication.

“In this circumstance, we shall be asking for a short adjournment to enable us pay the default fees and effect service on the 3rd and 4th Defendants.

In a swift response, however, Tob kekemeke (Esq), Counsel to the Claimants, told the Court that the intention of the 1st and 2nd Defendants was deliberately not to serve the amended processes, which the Court agreed with.

Tob Kekemeke (Esq), in part, said, “It appears there is a time cast determination to stifle the hearing of this matter.

“My learned friend said he came to the Court and did not see the bailiff to serve the processes. The question is, when were the processes filed?

“The processes were only filed today, 22/12/2023, and those processes could not have been intended to be served on the 3rd and 4th Defendants. The 3rd and 4th Defendants were served with the amended processes of the Claimants.

“There is a command under the hand of his lordship that the 3rd and 4th Defendants should enter appearance and file their responses within 7 days. This is a command and they have not obeyed the command in any way. They have not entered appearances or filed processes. So, it is clear that they are not in the matter and their absence will not stall today’s hearing.

“Secondly, the 1st and 2nd Defendants said they have not been able to pay the penalty fees for default, if the Court wants to bend backwards, the Defendants can pay the penalty on a later date.

“It is on record in this case that since the commencement of this matter, the 1st and 2nd Defendants have never filed any process within time. Grace is not for one to continue in sin. If a Court indulges a party, the party should not take the indulgence for granted.

“I submit that there is no real obstacle to hearing of this matter today. I urge the Court to direct the Defendants to proceed with the Motion and the hearing of the matter”.


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