STAKEHOLDERS from Lokoja, Kogi and Ajaokuta federal constituency of Kogi State have reacted angrily to a federal High court judgement re-cedings those local government areas to Igalaland described the development ‘modern day slavery’.
The stakeholders also faulted the court judgement, wondered why those council areas who were never part of the court proceddings could have the judgment binding on them.
The Federal High Court, Lokoja had during the week in a matter between HRM, Micheal Oboni, the Attah of Igala vs the Attorney-General of the Federation, granted the claimants reliefs that Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Kogi LGAs were part of the Attah Igala’s kingdom in 1840 and thus ceding the council areas back and recognizing them as part of Igala kingdom.
But adressing newsmen on Saturday in Lokoja over the matter, spokesperson of the stakeholders (comprising of political, elites and traditional sections,) the member representing Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency, Hon. Shaba Ibrahim however urged for calm, said they have commenced a legal process to redress the matter.
According to them, ‘While reiterating our long held respects for courts and indeed judicial proceedings, we the people of Lokoja/Kogi and Ajaokuta federal constituency as owners and custodians of the land purportedly ceded to the claimant therein by the Federal High court, Lokoja without prejudice to our rights to challenge the said judgment on appeal hereby express our total rejection of the said verdict and it’s inherent consequences on the following grounds.
“That we were not parties to the proceedings, neither were we at anytime aware of the pendency of any action in respect of our ancestral land despite been in active possession for over two centuries prior to this action.
“That the claim before the court as gleaned from the processes filed was in effect one declaration of title of land. It is our humble position and an elementary principle of law that the Federal High court sittings in LOKOJA lacks the judrisdiction over land matters.
“That the said action was commenced, maintained and prosecuted in complete disregard to exteant laws particularly the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria, the land Use Act 1978 and the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights promulgated to promote and protect human rights and basic freedom in African continent.
“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
“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,” he said.
He therefore appealed for calm as he commended the state governor, Yahaya Bello for taken proactive action to avoid crisis in the state.