By our Reporter
The Gamai Unity and Development Organization has reacted to a recent statement by the leadership of the Pan Development Association on recent developments regarding the stool of the Longjan of Jepjan, the traditional ruler of Namu Chiefdom in Quan Pan LGA of Plateau State.
GUDO, in a statement issued to newsmen in Jos, signed by the GUDO President, Theodore Bala Maiyaki and Secretary General, Bitkop Damsuk Fidelis, said “Having gone through the hollow sophistry being bandied about by the Pan Development Association especially on issues related to the ownership of Namu and stool of the Longjan of Namu (Japjan) Chiefdom, we are compelled to appropriately respond so as to set the records straight.
“It is a fact that these issues have already been settled by the Justice Constance Momoh Commission of Inquiry (2006) and the Court of Appeal (2018) in their separate landmark verdicts. These verdicts, especially, that of the Court of Appeal which has not been appealed by the Pan Development Association, have thus foreclosed any right of the Association to embark on a wild goose chase of a subtle attempt at re-litigating the already settled issues. In addressing some of the matters raised, we shall simply resort to historical perspectives, anthropological stand-points and judicial-cum-administrative decisions.”
Following the appointment of a new Longjan of Namu, the Pan Development Association in a press release raised concerns over what it described as “trend of events unfolding in Pan land particularly Jepjan (Namu).
The Pan Development Association listed the abuse of Pan tradition and heritage, attempts to project the stool of Longjan as a Goemai monarch and the rightful ownership of Jepjan land, among other issues in contention.
Giving some historical perspectives on the issues raised by the leadership of Pan Development Association, the Gamai Unity and Development Organization, said it has become needful to bring to the fore the historical facts necessary for the comprehension of the issues in contention so as to put the matter in correct perspective.
It said “The historical facts which are necessary for the comprehension of the foregoing issues need to be recalled so as to put the matter in correct perspective. This is most fundamental, against the backdrop of the uncanny attempts by the Pan Development Association to re-write the history of Namu (Japjan) and invariably distort same towards advancing their parochial interests. The Pan Development started off its claims by quoting from A.B Mathews Report of 1934 and the Gazetteers of Northern Nigeria both of which contain contradictions and inconsistencies of historical narrations which can hardly be relied upon. Even A.B. Mathews the author of the said report had expressed doubts about the authenticity of the information gathered from his Kofyar (Pan) informants.
“For instance, on Page 7, Para. 5 of the Report he had remarked that: “…They will give different stories to the same inquirer in the course of one day, and so, it is not too much to expect that these notes will be found inaccurate by others”. Most importantly, the Justice Constance Momoh Commission of Inquiry had admitted the inconsistencies and contradictions of these pieces of colonial sources when it noted on Page 71, Para. 3.8.8 of its Report that: “In the light of glaring inconsistencies and irreconcilable contradictions, this Commission, with all due respect, is unable to rely solely on the colonial records to determine the ownership of Namu from Kofyar perspective; we are unable to find conclusive evidence in proof of Kofyar contention that the twin Dajan founded Namu.”
Relating to the history and ownership of Namu (Japjan), GUDO said it need not over-flog issues as according to the organization, these issues have already been decided by the Constance Momoh Commission of Inquiry in favour of the Gamai.
It said “The Commission’s Report sub-titled “VERDICT ON THE OWNERSHIP OF NAMU”, on Page 86 Para. 3.13, declared that:
“After a meticulous and painstaking examination of evidence available before us, this Commission comes to the inescapable conclusion that the ownership of Namu lies in the Gamai”.
“This position of the Commission of Inquiry was upheld and affirmed by the Court of Appeal holden at Jos when it decided in its landmark judgment of 20th June 2018, Page 40 that: “The findings of the lower Court that the second respondent has no powers to request the fifth respondent to inquire into and “establish the ownership of Namu” and that the findings and decisions of the fifth respondent amounted to a usurpation of the judicial functions of the High Court and the Area and Customary Courts of Plateau State were not correct. The judgment of the lower Court based on these findings must be set aside”.
It added that the position of the Commission was upheld and affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Jos when it decided in its landmark judgement of 20th June 2018 that: “The findings of the lower Court that the second respondent has no powers to request the fifth respondent to inquire into and “establish the ownership of Namu” and that the findings and decisions of the fifth respondent amounted to a usurpation of the judicial functions of the High Court and the Area and Customary Courts of Plateau State were not correct. The judgment of the lower Court based on these findings must be set aside”.
On the Chieftaincy of Namu, GUDO opined that “It is a dramatic irony that the Pan Development Association claims that the present Longjan of Namu (Japjan) Miskoom Safiyanu Allahnana is an imposed “Goemai monarch”, adding that “It is important to place on records here that the Pan Development Association has no legal, administrative or historical right to meddle into affairs relating to chieftaincy of Namu (Japjan) Chiefdom which has been an exclusive preserve of the Gamai vide the two ruling houses of Moegurum and Ntiem Wapma. These ruling houses have had unbroken control of the rulership of Namu (Japjan) since 1732 beginning from Nfum the 1st chief to Miskoom Safiyanu Allahnana the 14th chief.”
While calling on the Plateau State Government and security agencies to nib in the bud any potential ugly consequence of the publication by the Pan Development Association, GUDO reiterated that it is not averse to continued dialogue but would not be held hostage by invidious threats, acts of intimidation and propaganda aimed at taking its people back to the dark days.