By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—ATTEMPTS by Chief Rich Arisco-Osemwingie, who proclaimed himself the Ogiamien of Utantan Benin nation, to stop the installation of the new Oba of Benin, Crown Prince Ehenede Erediauwa, suffered a setback, yesterday, as the Appeal Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, refused to hear the motion asking the court to stop the installation.
At the hearing of the matter, yesterday, counsel to Arisco-Osemwengie and others, G. Oaikhena, informed the court of his application seeking for an injunction to stop the installation of the new Oba which is slated for October 20, 2016, on the ground that the re-enactment of the Ekiagbado Treaty which they claimed the Ogiemien family was supposed to be part of, is not included in the programme of events for the installation of the Oba.
Oaikhena’s motion was countereded by counsel to the Governor of Edo State and others, Austin Alegeh, SAN, Chief Charles Edosomwan, SAN, Omoruyi Omonuwa, SAN, when Alegeh informed the court that the court had earlier ordered that it would not grant any injunction but would hear the substantial appeal, therefore, it could not be heard.
Consequently, the presiding Justice, Justice Olukayode Baba in a short ruling on the matter, agreed with Alegeh, saying that the court was not going to grant any injunction, rather that they were going to the main appeal and give judment.
He, therefore, urged counsel to argue the main appeal which was before the court.
Court reserves judgment
After exhaustive argument by counsel, Justice Baba said: “The court is reserving judgment on the substantive appeal and I advise all parties to maintain status quo until judgment is given on the appeal.”
It will be recalled that the Edo State Government had filed a charge against Arisco-Osemwengie and others after the latter ascribed to himself, the Ogiamien of Utantan Benin nation which the state government described as an attempt to usurp the powers of the Oba of Benin and waging communal war.
But Arisco-Osemwengie challenged the charge at the state High Court, arguing that the charge before the Magistrate Court was above the powers of the Edo State Government and an attempt to set aside the chieftaincy Edict in Edo State which makes the Ogiamien a chief in the palace of the Oba of Benin.
Following Osemwnegie’s suit at the High Court, counsel to the Edo State Government and others, Alegeh, filed a preliminary objection, contending that the suit was “status barred,” and that Rich Arisco-Osemwengie and others have no locus standi to institute the suit and that the suit did not disclose any reasonable cause of action.
The trial judge, Justice Ahamoje, however, ruled against the Edo State Government and others in the matter.
Consequently, the Edo State Government appealed against the decision of the lower court at the Court of Appeal, Benin City, contending that the trial judge erred in his ruling.
It urged the court to reverse the decision of the lower court.