The judgment of a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja in a matter between His Royal Majesty Micheal Ameh Ogboni, the Attah Igala, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Attorney-General of Kogi State is no doubt a matter that has continued to dominate public discuss. The suit: FHC/LKJ/C5/43/2017 had a judgement delivered by Justice D.U Okorowa granting the right of ownership of Lokoja, Kogi Koto-Karfe and Ajakuta Local government Areas of Kogi state as part of the Igala Kingdom. Consequently, the sum of ten billion naira was awarded the plaintiff as compensation.
The Lokoja First Advocacy Group(LFAG) which is concerned with advocating issues that affects the people and territorial boundaries of Lokoja Local Government and struggling for its betterment has resolved as follows:
1. We reject the judgement in its entirety in the strongest terms because of it contradictions and violation of available historical facts of our peaceful co-existence.
2. That LFAG observes that the judgment has transgressed the rights of the original owners and custodians of Lokoja Local Government area in particular as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the land use act 1978, the African charter on human and people’s rights 1981 and the universal declaration of human rights 1948.
4. We wish to make public that the inhabitants of Lokoja LGA have NEVER at any time in history fall under Igala Kingdom or it jurisdiction whatsoever.
5. Without prejudice, we observed that the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja also lacks the jurisdiction to entertain and pass judgment on such matter and matters connected thereto on item. More particularly, as there is a similar case, with same parties, same subject matter, with same reliefs pending at high court no 1, Lokoja.
6. The action of the case as insitituted and the judgment delivered at this period of human civilization is not only tempering on the rights of the people but also on their means of livelihood.
7. We solidly support all decisions and agreements earlier reached by other stakeholders from the three affected Local Government Areas as contained in the press conferences of 6th June, 2020 presided over by the member representing Lokoja/Kogi (Koton-Karfe) Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Hon.Shaba Ibrahim and that of the leadership of Lokoja Forum of Patriots held on 9th of June, 2020.
8. As peace loving Advocacy Group, we call on all residents of Lokoja to eschew any form of provocations and bitterness emanating from the judgement and to allow due process through the instrumentality of the law to take it full course.
9. Our determination to work in concert with all other well meaning stakeholders from the affected local government areas to ensure that the expansionist move of the claimants does not succeed is undiluted. The cooperation and determination of members would form the basis of the success or otherwise of this battle against injustice. Therefore, we would like to urge you all to in your various ways join hands with us, as other like minded organs, in this auspicious determination to ensure we are never shortchanged.
10. We thank the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello for his proactiveness and commitment to ensuring peace and that the right thing be done by describing the judgement what it represent “an attempt at modern day slavery”.
Comrade Umar Yakubu Ali
Chairman, Lokoja First Advocacy Group
Comrade Abdulmalik Okura Abbas
Secretary, Lokoja First Advocacy Group