A crisis of confidence is allegedly brewing at a federal high court in Abuja between Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako of the court and some of the staff who are from Benue State.
Our correspondent gathered that some of her staff who are indigenes of Benue State have already been redeployed.
According to investigation, the redeployment may not be unconnected with a case involving the leadership of Fulani herdsmen and the Benue State government.
But the court in its reaction said the redeployment was a routine exercise.
According to the finding of LEADERSHIP Justice Murtala- Nyako’s decision was based on the fact that her safety was no longer guaranteed with the embattled staffers.
A staff of the court who confided in our correspondent said the drama started when a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who appeared before her in a suit involving Fulani herdsmen and the Benue State government, requested that the case file be transferred to the Acting Chief Judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, for reassignment to another judge.
The plaintiffs in the suit, Engr. Saleh Alhassan, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, members of Miyatti Allah Kautal Hore Socio-Cultural Association, sued Benue State government over the anti-open grazing law it enacted in May, 2017.
Defendants in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Benue State government, Benue State House of Assembly and the commissioner of Police, Benue State.
The applicants in the motion on notice prayed the court to declare that the publication calling for the arrest of members of Miyatti Allah for peace to reign in Benue State was sponsored by the state government through a body known as Benue Youth Movement.
The motion which was brought pursuant to order 2 rule 1(1) of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement of the fundamental human right to personal liberty rights, prayed an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents by themselves, agents and privies from harassing, molesting, arresting, abducting and detaining the applicants in any part of the country without compliance with due process of law.
Meanwhile, the respondents in their counter-affidavit vehemently opposed the application. They maintained that contrary to the submissions of the applicants, the respondents never intimidated the applicants.
The defendants through their lawyer, Chief Sebastine Hon, SAN, averred that based on their public threats of causing mayhem in Benue State as a result of the passage of the anti-open grazing law, Governor Ortom wrote petitions against the applicants to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector-General of Police.
He also averred that the 3 and 4 respondents did not need to go through any other body, like the Benue Youth Movement to petition against the applicants.
Hon further prayed the court to grant the application in the interest of justice especially in view of the fact that more than 100 Benue indigenes have been killed by Fulani herdsmen since the applicants issued their threats.
However, when the matter came up for hearing before Justice Binta Nyaka, the lead counsel for the 3,4 and 5 defendants, Chief Hon brought a letter which was addressed to the court by the State Attorney General, Mr. Michael Gusa.
The letter according to the constitutional lawyer was written with the consent of Governor Samuel Ortom.
The letter sought the disqualification of the trial judge who according to them was from the Fulani ethnic stock and that the likelihood of bias was bound to play out.