The Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello has been accused of working to create crisis in the state by his criticism of a judgement given by a Federal High Court in Lokoja in favour of Attah Igala, Michael Ameh Oboni 11.
The court had, in the judgement given on June 2 this year, held that Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Koton-Karfe are part of Igala land and within the Attah Igala’s kindom.
The court, which awarded N10bilion cost in favour of the Atah Igala, noted that the three communities belonged to the Igala people on the strength of the “1841 business relationship” between the colonialists and the then Attah Igala.
But, in a broadcast, Governor Bello among others, expressed displeasure about the judgment, noting that it amounted to imperialism.
Reacting to the Governor’s comments on the judgment, a lawyer and rights activist, Daniel Makolo advised the Kogi State Government to either appeal the court’s decision or obey it rather than seeking to pitch the people of the state against the traditional ruler.
Makolo argued that the Attah Igala did nothing wrong by approaching the court, and that, as a democratically elected governor, rather resorting to name calling, Bello ought to commend the traditional ruler for seeking redress in court.
He said: “The Governor chose to give the judgment of the court of competent jurisdiction the colouration of imperialism. This is unfortunate. Imperialism has no bearing whatsoever with the judgment of the court.
“The court is meant to interpret the law and enforce citizens’ rights, based on incontrovertible evidence placed before it, which the Federal High Court, sitting in Lokoja, Kogi State has done in this case.
“Let justice be done, though heavens fall, is a legal maxim, which dictates that, justice must be realized regardless of consequences. This, the Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja has complied with in this judgment.
“Incidentally, the Kogi State Government was a party in this case, having applied on its own volition to be joined as a party. It apparently participated in all the processes and proceedings leading to this judgment.
“The Kogi State Government and the Governor had the opportunity to present their case, which they did and lost.
“It is unfortunate that the governor, rather than comply with the clear and unambiguous judgment of a court of competent Jurisdiction and seek ways for its enforcement/implementation or exercise his right of appeal, has resorted to name calling, blackmail and weeping up public sentiment with the sole aim of pitching the ever peace-loving citizens of our dear great state against themselves forgetting that we are all brothers and sisters in the first place.
“We the Igalas are saying to all our brothers and sisters, as well as the well meaning Nigerians and kogites that, as democrats and law abiding citizens, we believe in the rule of law and are committed to it and not tow the path that the Governor of Kogi State has chosen.
“Since the court has spoken in favour of the Attah of Igala, we should all take necessary steps to enforce and implement the judgment given accordingly. The only option available to the aggrieved is to appeal the judgment.”