Benue Court Dismisses Malicious Claim Against Tiv Men

by David Okoye
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The Chief Judge of Benue State, Justice Maurice Ikpambese, has ruled against a defamatory claim suggesting that Tiv men offer their wives to male visitors for sexual favors under Tiv native law and custom. The judgment was delivered in Makurdi during a case brought by the Incorporated Trustees of Mzough U Tiv against the Tiv Area Traditional Council (TATC).

The lawsuit stemmed from assertions made by Venita Akpofure on the Big Brother Naija show, broadcasted by MultiChoice, where she alleged that Tiv men engage in such practices. Counsel to the plaintiff, Douglas Pepe, argued that these claims lacked supporting evidence and were defamatory. Despite this, the TATC only verbally condemned the assertion without pursuing legal action against Akpofure.

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The plaintiff sought a declarative judgment affirming that, under Tiv native law and custom, Tiv men do not offer their wives to visitors for sexual pleasure. Additionally, they requested an order of mandamus to compel the TATC to formalize this principle through a resolution.

During the trial, both the plaintiff and surprisingly, the defendant’s counsel, E.K. Ashiekaa, aligned with the argument that the claim was baseless and defamatory. After hearing from three witnesses presented by the plaintiff and one witness from the defendant, the case was closed.

In his judgment, Justice Ikpambese granted the reliefs sought by the plaintiff, dismissing Ms. Akpofure’s assertion as malicious falsehood lacking substantive evidence. He emphasized the need to discountenance such claims and uphold the integrity of the Tiv community.

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