Kogi Umbrella Groups Reject Court Judgement on Expansion of Igala Kingdom

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Social-cultural umbrella bodies in Central and West Senatorial Zones of Kogi State have jointly rejected the judgement of a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja regarding ownership of lands in Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Kogi Local Government Areas, LGAs of the State.

The Tuesday May 2nd judgement granted ownership of the territories to the Attah Igala, HRM Michael Ameh-Oboni as part of the Igala kingdom.

The leadership of Ebira People’s Association, EPA; Koton-Karfe Igu Descendants Association, KIDA and Okun Development Association, ODA in a joint Press Release described the subject of the judgement as outdated imperialistic tendencies.

“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.”

The group hinted at plans to test the strength of the judgement in a higher court.

“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.

“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.”

It noted that the sustenance of the fragile peace is the responsibility of every citizen of the State, and much more so, of the leaders in government, in Royal Institutions, the judiciary, and other natural and professional bodies in the state.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“This recent judgment has grossly undermined the efforts of this body. It is our fervent believe that the situation is not irredeemable.

“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.”

The release was signed by Dr Adeiza Musa Abdurahman President General Ebira People’s Association (EPA), Hon Abdulkarim Shuaibu, National President, Koton -Karfe Igu Descendant Association (KIDA) and Barr Femi Mokikan National President Okun Development Association (ODA).

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