By Chimezie Godfrey
The people of Ajaokuta, Koton-Karfe and Lokoja oin Kogi state, have rejected the Federal High Court judgement, which declared their lands as properties of Igala kingdom.
This was disclosed in a joint press statement signed by Dr. Adeiza Musa Abdulrahman, President, Ebira People’s Association (EPA); Abdulkarim Shuaibu, National President, Koton-Karfe Igu Descendant Association (KIDA), and Femi Mokikan, National President, Okun Development Association (ODA) on Monday.
Recall that the Federal High Court in Lokoja, recently delivered a 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.
According to the people, 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 ugly practices by certain sections of the state from the very beginning, have managed to coexist in a safe and peaceful atmosphere.
They noted that the sustenance of the fragile peace is the responsibility of every citizen of the state, which include leaders in government, royal institutions, judiciary, and other natural and professional bodies in the state.
The representatives of the umbrella bodies to which these three areas belong, and on behalf of their people declared their rejection of the court judgement, and are already making moves to appeal the judgement.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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how to make life more meaningful and worth living for their people, what we are being invited to deal with here is some outdated expansionist and imperialistic tendencies.
“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,” the group stated.
The group noted that only last year, to confront the mutual suspicion and mistrust amongst the 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).
According to them, the sole aim of the coalition is to promote mutual understanding, peace and unity amongst the various people through various initiatives.
The Umbrella Associations pointed out that the recent judgement has undermined their efforts, but expressed optimism that the situation is not irredeemable.
“This recent judgment has grossly undermined the efforts of this body.
“It is our fervent believe that the situation is not irredeemable.
“With some introspection, necessary damage control measures can still be taken to rebuild confidence and trust,” they stated.
The group called on the good and peace-loving people of the Central and West Senatorial Districts of Kogi state which they represent, and other people of the State to continue to remain calm, maintain the peace and continue their lawful activities.
They further urged the citizens to continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other agencies of government with responsibility for promoting peaceful coexistence.