PRESS RELEASE FROM THE EBIRA PEOPLES’ ASSOCIATION, (EPA) KOTON-KARFE IGU DESCENDANTS ASSOCIATION, (KIDA) AND OKUN DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION (ODA) ALL OF CENTRAL SENATORIAL AND WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICTS OF KOGI STATE, ON THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT JUDGMENT IN LOKOJA DECLARING AJAOKUTA, KOTON-KARFE AND OWORO LAND AS BELONGING TO THE IGALAS*
Please recall that the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting in Lokoja in a matter between His Royal Majesty, Michael Ameh Oboni, the Attah of Igala and the Attorney-General of the Federal & Another, recently delivered its judgement declaring that the Igala Kingdom extends to and includes Ajaokuta, Lokoja(Oworo) and Koton-Karfe land areas thus recognizing them as part of Igala Kingdom.
We, the representatives of the umbrella bodies to which these three areas belong, and on behalf of the people we represent, do hereby declare our official position in respect of the aforesaid judgment as follows:
1. Since the creation of Kogi State in 1991, the three major blocks consisting of Kogi Central, Kogi East and Kogi West have, in spite of dissatisfaction with some state practices by certain sections of the state from the very beginning, have managed to coexist in a safe and peaceful atmosphere, an atmosphere that recently gained in stature following the shift of power away from the East for the first time since the creation of the State and since the advent of democratic dispensation.
2. The sustenance of this fragile peace is the responsibility of every citizen of the State, and much more so, of the leaders in government, in our Royal Institutions, the judiciary, and other natural and professional bodies in the state.
3. We declare that our people have the highest respect for the Courts of the land and other institutions of the judiciary and will therefore not in any way impugn the integrity of the judiciary.
4. While our focus here is not to assess the judicial processes that led to the historic judgment, we as the official umbrella organs of the peoples of Ajaokuta, Koton-Karfe and Lokoja (Oworo), the original, natural, and historical owners and uninterrupted custodians of the land that is the subject of the judgment of the Federal High Court Lokoja, hereby declare our absolute rejection of the said court judgment and whatever it represents.
5. We confirm that in accordance with the above rejection, steps are already being taken to appeal the judgment and we are confident that in the end the cause of justice will be served.
6. We feel pained that in an era when the rest of the world is thinking of how to make life more meaningful and worth living for their people, what we are being invited to deal with here is some outdated expansionist and imperialistic tendencies.
7. We however note very strongly that the initiation of the court case in the first instance was ill-conceived, ill-advised, provocative and without consideration for the fragile peace of the State.
8. Without doubt, the steps taken that led to this judgment and the judgment itself have further deepen the mutual suspicion and mistrust that had existed among the various blocks in the state which has so far held us back in development, and this is very sad for the State.
9. We note that only last year, to confront the mutual suspicion and mistrust amongst our people, the Umbrella Associations of the three Senatorial Districts that make up the State, came together for the first time in the history of the State to form a coalition named Kogi Coalition of Umbrella Development Associations (KOCUDA) with the sole aim of promoting mutual understanding, peace and unity amongst our various peoples through various initiatives.
10. This recent judgment has grossly undermined the efforts of this body.
11. It is our fervent believe that the situation is not irredeemable.
12. With some introspection, necessary damage control measures can still be taken to rebuild confidence and trust.
13. In conclusion, we like to call on the good and peace-loving people of the Central and West Senatorial Districts that we represent, and other people of the State to continue to remain calm, maintain the peace and continue their lawful activities while cooperating with law enforcement and other agencies of government with responsibility for promoting peaceful coexistence.
14. Thank you.
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
LONG LIVE KOGI STATE
LONG LIVE AJAOKUTA, LOKOJA (OWORO) AND KOTON-KARFE
1. Dr Adeiza Musa Abdurahman President General Ebira People’s Association (EPA)
2. Hon Abdulkarim shuaibu, National President, Koton -Karfe Igu Descendant Association (KIDA)
3. Barr Femi Mokikan National President Okun Development Association (ODA)