General Bali was Never Installed as Ponzhi Tarok, Says Group

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

As controversies continue to becloud the burial arrangement of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), late Lt Gen Domkat Bali, a pressure group of some renowned Tarok people in Plateau State, Gazum Cultural Economic and Social Development Organisation (GACESDO), has disclosed that the late general was never at any time installed the Ponzhi Tarok.

In a statement issued by the group, its President, Dr. Clement Cirman, said: “General Domkat Bali was never at any point installed as Ponzhi Tarok. The installation was stopped by a court of competent jurisdiction, and he was never given a staff of office.”

He explained that former state Governor, Senator Jonah Jang, imposed Bali on the people without recourse to the 1975 gazette, adding that the state government was taken to court and the court stopped his installation.

The president noted that while the matter was still in court, Bali resigned, saying he was no longer interested in the position, and that he wanted to concentrate on his health.

In a letter written to the President of Ngwang Ishi O’Tarok (NIO), Chief David Dashe, Cirman explained that: “It is therefore incorrect to say that Bali died as a Ponzhi Tarok.

“No Court of Appeal delivered any judgement on November 11, 2020, affirming Bali as Ponzhi Tarok, as was speculated by NIO in its recent statement, and unfortunately, by some other people for their own reason.

“At the Court of Appeal, the government lawyer argued that at the High Court, where the government lost the case, he had ‘better counter affidavits’ he had wanted to tender, but was not allowed by the trial judge at the high court. That, according to him, amounted to lack of fair hearing.

“The Court of Appeal agreed with the state government lawyer that if he was not allowed to tender his ‘further and better counter affidavits’ which, in his own wisdom, could have helped his case, it was not fair.

“The Appeal Court thus ordered that the matter be returned to the High Court for the appellant lawyer to tender his ‘further and better counter affidavits’, as this will address his concern about lack of fair hearing.

“I don’t know how the above narration amounts to any loss of a case at the Court of Appeal.

“In fact, the judge of the Court of Appeal categorically stated that he was making that order without recourse to the merit of the main issues before the court for determination, and that since the appellant lawyer was relaying on lack of fair hearing, there was no need to go into the substance of the issues formulated before the court for determination.

“The name of Domkat Bali was not mentioned throughout that judgement, as he was not even a party in the case. That case was against the government for promulgating the 2010 gazette as against the 1975 gazette.”

While noting that the unfortunate demise of Bali should not be a subject of political debate, and that considering his pedigree and status, he should be respected even in death, Cirman, however, said he needed to satisfy the curiosity of those that genuinely wanted to know the facts on ground.