By: Barr. Shaba Ibrahim member Representing Lokoja/Kogi Federal constituency at the National Assembly, Abuja.
Gentlemen of the press, Good day . You may recall that the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting in Lokoja in a matter between His Royal Majesty, Micheal Ameh Oboni, Attah Igala and the Anthony-General of the Federation & 1 other delivered judgement on Tuesday the 2nd day of June, 2020 where inter alia, the court granted the claimants relief’s suggesting that Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Kogi LGAs were part of the Attah Igala’s Kingdom and thus ceding the said LGAs back and recognizing them as part of Igala Kingdom.
While reiterating our long held respect for courts and indeed judicial proceedings, we 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 and its inherent consequences on following grounds:
1. That we were not parties to the proceedings, neither were we at anytime aware of the tendency of any action in respect of our ancestral land despite being in active possession for over two centuries prior to this action. 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.
2. 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.
3. Assuming, 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.
4. That the issue of action in this case having arisen since 1940, is statute barred, stale and thus rendering the action unmaintainable altogether.
5. That 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.
6. 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.
7. That 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.
Thank you all and God Bless.
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
LONG LIVE KOGI STATE.
LONG LIVE LOKOJA, KOGI AND AJAOKUTA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS.
HON. SHABA IBRAHIM, MEMBER REPRESENTING LOKOJA/KOGI FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, ABUJA. AND ELEVEN OTHERS.