Lokoja, Ajaokuta belongs to Oworro, not Igala-Rep
By Olu Agbana, (Lokoja)
A member of the House of Representative for Ajaokuta Constituency Hon Shola Shaaba Ibrahim has faulted the recent Kogi High Court ruling ceding Lokoja and Ajaokuta to the Attah of Igala
In a statement made available to Irohinoodua, the House of Rep Member, said the ruling will be challenged by Oworo people.
He said reiterated the long held respect for courts and indeed judicial proceedings adding that the people of Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency and Ajaokuta Federal Constituency as owners and custodians of the land purportedly ceded to the claimants therein by the Federal High Court Lokoja without prejudice to our rights to challenge the said judgement on appeal hereby express our total rejection of the said verdict.
On behalf of Oworo people, he listed the grounds for their rejection.
He said the Oworo were not parties to the proceedings, neither were they at anytime aware of the tendency of any action in respect of Oworro ancestral land despite being in active possession for several centuries prior to this action.
He said “Since judgement of a court binds only parties to the proceedings, we therefore consider the pronouncement of the court ceding our land to the claimant bizarre and ipso facto unacceptable.”
The representatibe said that the claim before the court as gleaned from the processes filed was in effect one of declaration of title to land.
“It is our humble position and an elementary principle of law that the Federal High Court, sitting in Lokoja lacks the jurisdiction over land matters or action connected therewith”
He said asuming, without conceding that the court had jurisdiction, commencing an action for declaration of title to land which is a contentious and disputed issue vide originating summons is not only strange and inappropriate but outrightly bad and incurably so.
“That the issue of action in this case having arisen since 1940, is statute barred, stale and thus rendering the action unmaintainable altogether and the said action was commenced, maintained and prosecuted in complete disregard to extant laws particularly the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the land use Act 1978 and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) promulgated to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms in the African continent”
He argued that the claimants case before the court was in respect of land the boundaries of which were vague and unascertainable thus rendering the action incurably bad.
According to him, the action by the claimant and the relief’s sought failed to take cognisance of the cordiality of relationship between the component ethnic units of Kogi State and is capable of causing a breach of the peace.
“We therefore call on the good, loving, peaceful and law abiding people of our areas to remain calm and law abiding as we have commenced the process of redress to set aside the said judgement on Appeal that has the trappings of modern day slavery and consequently unacceptable to all lovers of freedom”