By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The immediate past Attorney General of Delta State, Justice Charles Ajuye on Friday in Warri, Delta State in a press briefing, noted that the Honorable Attorney-General’s memo on the true name of the town; the Maritime University is situated, the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation is perfectly right.
“You see in land matters, it is well understood that land does not move. It is static. That is why you cannot have a location on earth having two different co-ordinates using the Northern origin. The Maritime University is a welcome development by all.
“The area of the land where the Maritime University is situated and its adjourning· lands have been the subject of litigation between Itsekiri people of Omadino and the Ijaws of Kokodia, Okerenghigho and other surrounding villages between 1949 to 1962. Judgments were delivered in favor of the Omadino people.
“The last of the cases was in Sillo v. James Uluba. The Omadino people sued for possession and injunction. Judgment was delivered on 3 October, 1969. The Trial Judge found that the evidence of the Itsekiri people that they founded the land Okerenghigho was most credible and found that the Ijaws who were challenging the title of the Itsekiri’s who settled on the land by their original ancestors by name Akpata and his followers settled on the land with the permission of the Omadino people. In coming to that decision, the trial Court re-affirmed the declaration of title granted to Omadino people in the 1951 case.
“The Ijaws of Okerenghigho appealed to the Supreme Court and on 31 January, ,1973. Elias CJ, Sowemimo and Ibekwe SCJN dismissed the appeal by unanimous decision. It was seriously argued in that case whether the land is Okerenghigho or Okerenkoko. It was found in the case that:“The land in dispute is called Okerenghigho by the Plaintiffs who are Itsekiri and Okerenkoko by the ijaws who are Defendants”
“The factual position is that if I go to lle Ife and settle and later claim the land by calling it “Lele lfe” and do not succeed or people of Ile Ife defeats me in the case, will any sane person in the National Assembly propose a Law naming it Obafemi Awolowo Lele Ife?
“The Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation as the Chief Law officer of the Federation has a duty not only to inform the National Assembly but to advice the body by the rule of law. They cannot legislate away the existing rights of the people of Omadino. The Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation did not re-write the judgment of the Supreme Court. He interpreted it for application by the National Assembly. He is right
“Now none of those criticizing him has been able to demonstrate or show that the case of Uluba v. Sillo decided in 1973 and reported in 1973 ALL NLR page 47 does not exist. With all due respect, anyone who is not prepared to accept the position of the Honorable Attorney-General of the Federation is simply being mischievous and lawless. The National Assembly and the President of this Country must appreciate that they have sworn to abide by the Constitution and rule of law. They are not to make sad laws,” he said.