Yewa communities want justice over boundary dispute after 28 years legal victory
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State Nigeria
London, Nov. 13, 2017 (Alt Afrika)-The people of Idofoi, Owo and Ipaya communities in Yewa North local government area of Ogun State, Nigeria have appealed to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State to urgently implement a 28-year-old judgement of the state Boundary Dispute Appeal Tribunal granting them total ownership and control of their respective homelands.
The appeal contained in a “Save Our Soul (SOS) letter sent to the governor also detailed the acts of violence, abductions and killings allegedly perpetrated against the people by the neighbouring Imala in Abeokuta North Local Government Area, due to the non-implementation of the tribunal’s judgement by successive governments in the state.
According to the people, implementing the judgement had become imperative to avoid an escalation of the tension that had continued envelop the areas for decades over a boundary dispute already settled by the courts.
Meanwhile, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ogun State Dr Olumide Ayeni said all grievances must follow approved channels and urged the concerned communities to be patient and await the response of the state’s Boundary Committee. “The position is that the Ogun State Boundary Committee would have to examine the whole matter whatever the case so that the petitioners need to exercise patience in forwarding a comprehensive memorandum to that committee which they seem reluctant to do “
Justice Adewale Thompson of the Western Region High court, which sat in Abeokuta, had on September 23, 1968, delivered a judgement conferring the proprietary interest and control of the lands in dispute on the descendants of Ondofoi, Etilaporan and Adegoolu, the respective founders of Idofoi, Owo and Ipaya communities in Ayetoro-Yewa.
The court, in suit number AB/20/64, also decided that the lands owned and occupied by the people of the three communities and covered by Survey Plan L&LA/5530, did not belong to the Omala of Imala, a community under the administrative control of the neighbouring Abeokuta North Local Government Council.
Twenty-four (24) years after the court’s decision, a judgement of the Ogun State Boundary Dispute Appeal Tribunal in suit number AB/27A/86, equally affirmed the earlier judgement and granted Yewa North Local Government the legal right and delegation to administer and control everything above, on and under the land covered by Survey Plan L&LA/5530. But the people of the three communities had for a long time wondered why successive governments in Ogun State refused to implement the judgement of the Boundary Dispute Appeal Tribunal which is the final court of appeal on the matter despite consistent reminders and supplications sent to them since 1989.
The people in a memorandum already submitted to the Ogun State Boundary Adjustment Commission at the Governor’s Office in Abeokuta, the state capital, and jointly signed by the traditional rulers of the communities, including the Baale of Idofoi, Ayetoro, Chief Olatunji Abioro; the Basorun-designate of Idofoi, Alhaji Bello Jimoh; the Baale-elect of Obada (Owo), Chief Jimoh Fagbohun; Olotu, Obada Owo, Senior Apostle Benjamin Oluwole; the Baale-elect of Ipaya Adegoolu, Chief Alao Olabode; and Ekerin of Ipayaland, Chief Waidi Adeyeri, said that they “remained committed to the actualisation of their persistent demand neither to serve the Omala of Imala, nor be governed by any local government/council other than the Yewa North Local Government Area.”
They also argued that the Ogun State Boundary Adjustment Committee had no better role or concern on the issue of boundary adjustment between Oke-Ogun Local Council Development Area in Abeokuta North Local Government, Afon Local Council Development Area and Yewa North Local Government Area than to advise the Ogun State Government to fully implement, without further delay, the July 6, 1989 judgment of the state Boundary Dispute Appeal Tribunal.
The memorandum also detailed the various unsuccessful efforts made by the three communities since 2007 to bring the existence of the 1989 judgement of the state Boundary Dispute Appeal Tribunal to the notice of Governor Amosun for implementation. It stated, “When no action appeared to be taken, the three communities wrote an SOS petition dated 11th November 2013 to remind the Ogun State Governor of our hearts’ desires. The petition was signed by 2,403 indigenes of Idofoi/Owo/Ipaya and delivered to the Governor’s Office on 23 November 2013.