Kogi State may soon go up in ethnic and tribal flames as a Federal High Court judge, sitting in Lokoja, the State capital, extended Igala Kingdom in the Eastern part of the State to Ajaokuta on the soil of Kogi Central, Lokoja and Koton Karfe in Kogi West.
The judge also awarded Igala Kingdom the sum of N10 billion against the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who is the only defender in the case. The awarded cost of N10 billion, the court said, is compensation to Igala Kingdom for Illegally operating on its soil without royalties for years.
The case was filed in 2017, at the Federal High Court Lokoja in the name of Attah Igala against the Attorney General of the Federation as the sole defendant.
The case was filed through Originating Summons and accordingly, it is only affidavit evidence that was required and not oral evidence.
The deponent of the affidavit in support was Idakwo Oboni, accordingly, Attah traveled to Lokoja to depose to the affidavit himself.
The document relied on were all gotten from the National Archive in Kaduna.
The main documents are an agreement between Samuel Ajayi Crowther and a former Attah where the Attah gave out land to Crowther to build a Church in Lokoja. Another is an agreement between the Queen of England and Attah of Igala over Lokoja and Ajaokuta.
The case sought an order of court declaring the area around Niger river up to Koton Karfe as a territory under the overlordship of the Attah Igala.
Following the judgment, many indigenes of Lokoja, Koton karfe and Ajaokuta have expressed grief over what they described as “judicial ambush.”
While some grieving members of the affected communities are calling for a total war against the expansionist tendency of Igala, others have expressed determination to appeal the judgment.
Meanwhile, the State Government has appealed for calm, especially between the Ebira people who have laid claim to the ownership of Ajaokuta and part of Lokoja and the Igala people.
In a statement today, June 3, Alhaji Akaaba Aliyu Mustapha, the Senior Special Assistant On Security Matter to Governor Yahaya Bello, called on the people of Ajaokuta Local Government in particular, to remain calm in the face of the Federal High Court judgement which pronounced Ajaokuta LGA as part of the East which is the Igala Kingdom.
Akaaba assured the people of the move for a swift reaction by appealing the case in the court of competent jurisdiction.
He said that every dissatisfaction in the just pass verdict will be addressed and redressed constitutionally.
He reminded the people that this is a civil matter and that it will be handled constitutionally. “We will drag this matter to crescendo height were all apex authorities will have to come in to ensure proper redress. “Ajaokuta is our ancestral home and we will not fold our arms while it’s taken away from us. But we must do this legally if we must win, so let’s be law abiding as we fight for what’s ours.”
Akaaba advised the people of the local government to continue to remain peaceful and go about their daily businesses as anyone caught fermenting trouble will face the full wrath of the law.
He called on Community and Traditional leaders to use their offices to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility by ensuring that their followers remain law abiding.