A Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos has adjourned to October 12 to allow for an out–of–court settlement in the case between the parents of the dead female footballers from Jos North Local Council and the immediate past First Lady of the state, Ngo Talatu Jang.
When the case came up for hearing yesterday, counsel to Jos North Council pleaded for more time to enable him meet with the chairman of the council to reach an amicable conclusion on how to settle the matter out of court.
But counsel to the parents, Mr. Uche, condemned the way the case has been lingering, the development he said has further traumatised the bereaved parents.Urging speedy settlement in the matter, Justice Yakubu Dakwak, adjourned the case with a strong call that the long period of adjournment be judiciously used to work out the modalities for the out of court settlement.
The authorities of Jos North Council have expressed their readiness for the settlement in the case that has been going on for more than two years. The plaintiffs in the matter are asking for N200 million compensation for the loss of their daughters On December 21, 2008, 10 young female footballers and two of their coaches were killed in a ghastly motor accident at Dorowa village in Barkin Ladi local government of the state.
The girls had been contracted by the Jos North Council to represent it in the then First Lady’s Female Football Competition among the 17 local councils of the state.The Jos North Local Council Squad, known as Rock City Queens, left Jos in the morning of December 21, 2008 to Shendam, venue of the competition. After the competition on their way back to Jos, in the evening of the same day, catastrophe struck as their J5 bus ran head on into an oncoming Golf Volkswagen car and burst into flames.
Out of the six occupants in the Golf car, only one person survived and of the 18 passengers in the J5 bus conveying the players, 12 were burnt to ashes, including 12–year old Naomi John, who was the youngest among the players.
Those who lost their lives in the tragedy included Augustina Kenneth, Catherine Okpoko, Happiness Primus, Mary Achom, Comfort Agwu and Vicky Joseph.Others were Angela Otuka, Mercy Uwandu, Jummai Ishaku, Khalid Yaro and Chief Coach Ganiyu.
The then governor of the state, David Jonah Jang, now a senator representing Plateau North District, his wife on whose behalf the competition was organised, and the then chairman of the Jos North Council, Mr. Timothy Buba, were all at the mass burial where they promised to assist the parents of the deceased.However, after several unsuccessful attempts to see the then governor, the victims’ parents decided to seek redress from the court.