The attention of The Oworo Foundation has been drawn to the Judgment delivered by the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting at Lokoja with suit No. FHC/LKJ/CS/43/2017, which confers the exercise of rights and payments of entitlements such as dues, compensation, rents, loyalties of land situated along the Niger-Benue River area on the Attah of Igala.
The Foundation noticed with the dismay the claim of ownership and overlordship by the Attah of Igala over the land along the Niger-Benue River since 1841 and the collection of loyalties and tributes from the inhabitants of the land.
The Foundation, perceives the above claim by the Attah of Igala as unfounded, mischievous and inconsistent with the history of the Oworo people who are aboriginal inhabitants of the Niger-Benue Confluence area.
It is pertinent to note that Oworo who are the first settlers of Lokoja area Pre 1841, has never paid any tribute or loyalty to the Attah of Igala and any act of purported sale or transaction in respect of our land is tantamount to stealing and Land speculation as he does not possess the right to do so.
Perusing through the Federal High court judgment we observed that it was devoid of all reasonable fairness as the Oworo people who are the aborigines of the Niger-Benue Area were not Co-Defendants in the suit.
This reminds one of the unfortunate incidence of the Berlin conference 1884 in which the balkanization of Africa was carried out by the Europeans without the consent and presence of African Stakeholders.
At this critical period that Nigeria is grappling with issues of ethnicity and minority question, and concerted efforts are being made to forge unity among the diverse ethnic groups, the Federal High court judgment is capable of diving a huge blow on these efforts thereby deepening the already existing ethnic lines.
The Foundation therefore, condemns and rejects the travesty of judgment in its entirety and will do everything within the ambit of the law to challenge it.
Kolade Umoru, Fcai