Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse
A court of appeal sitting 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 resident of Fagam District in Gwaram Local Government Area, through his counsels Baffa Alhassan and Hafizu Abubakar. Both lawyers claimed to have provided free legal services to the evicted herders.
The respondent, Auwalu Adamu, who was the District Head of Fagam, had earlier instituted the case in the Sharia court claiming Mr Jingi’s land settlement after the later failed to renew his annual settlement dues.
Previously, the Sharia court sitting in Gwaram ruled in favour of the District Head, ordering the herders to vacate their settlement in Fagam District.
Justice Umar Sadiq, delivering the lead judgement, which was adopted by another judge Abubakar Sambo, held that the upper Shariah court lack the jurisdiction to entertain such a matter.
The judge stated further that “All the five Emirate Councils in Jigawa State were a creation of the law. Local Government law cap. L8 Laws of Jigawa State established Dutse Emirate under which the District Head of Fagam is.
“Also, Section 64 spelt out functions of the Emirate Councils and paragraph K there-off provides, “to determine and declare the customary law and practice on all matter govern by customary laws including land tenure under customary right of occupancy save that it shall not have power to control or allocate land,” the judge quoted.
In the verdict, Justice Sadiq said: “In the result, the trial by the Gwaram Upper Sharia Court without jurisdiction is hereby voided, the decision and the consequential order are hereby set aside.”
After the court session, the appellant’s lawyer, Hafizu Abubakar, said the judgement was well delivered and justice had been served.
“The court as we rightly complained declared that the Upper Sharia Court, Gwaram, has no jurisdiction to entertain the case and the claimant has no right over the land,” he said.
The respondent’s lawyer, Fa’izu King, said that the judgement was against his client: “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.”
Meanwhile, an elated Mr Jingi said the judicial process was satisfactory, “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.”