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Court bars Ijaw from contesting land ownership in Warri

By Emma ARUBI

WARRI – A WARRI High Court has again barred the Ijaw indigenes from Warri, from contesting ownership of lands in Warri Local Government areas of Delta State, as the Supreme Court had since 1964 laid such matter to rest.

This was the ruling delivered by the Hon. Justice Marshall Mukoro, last week while dismissing the application for joinder by the Ijaws of Ogbe-Ijoh in a land case involving the Okere Itsekiri community and the Delta State Government, claiming to be the rightful owner of the land in dispute.

The Okere community dragged the state government to court over alleged forceful acquisition of their land measuring 3.197 hectares situated at the community which the government has currently built a model primary school on for public interest.

But the Ijaws of Ogbe-Ijoh, led by one Barrister Clarkson Aribogha, applied to be joined in the suit as defendants, claiming ownership of same parcel of land in a 20 paragraph affidavit, saying that the land was founded by one Ewein, the founder of Ogbe-Ijoh kingdom at a time now beyond human memory.

But the Itsekiri people of Okere maintained that the Ijaws were only seeking to reap where they have not sown, adding that in the history of the foundation of Warri kingdom, there is nowhere the name of any Ijaw man named Ewein was mentioned and prayed the court to strike out their application as was done by a Warri High Court dated 9/71964 and affirmed by the Supreme Court in SC/450/65.

Dismissing the application for joinder, Justice M. Mukoro stated thus: “…From the discussion so far based on legal principles, judicial authorities, facts before me is that this application for joinder is a back-door attempt to revive an action laid to rest since July 1964.”


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