THE PRESIDENCY AND THE SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN RESPECT TO THE RULE OF LAW: AS AN ADDENDUM TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION, MALAMI'S UPRIGHTNESS AND COMMITMENT TO THE RULE OF LAW

The Nigerian people KNOW that the rule of law is unambiguously enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and that a democratic government whose


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THE PRESIDENCY AND THE SENATE OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA IN RESPECT TO THE RULE OF LAW: AS AN ADDENDUM TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION, MALAMI'S UPRIGHTNESS AND COMMITMENT TO THE RULE OF LAW
Okerenghigho map

The Nigerian people KNOW that the rule of law is unambiguously enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and that a democratic government whose governance does not obey the rule of law is dictactive.

The rule of law is captured in Section 1 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended that “This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. The primary meaning of which is that everything must be done according to law.

Subsection (3) further provides that “If any other Law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other Law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void”.

late Justice Taylor in Olayori’s case, (1969) 2 All N.L.R. at page 308, said, “…If we are to have our actions guided and restrained in certain ways for the benefit of society in general and individual members in particular, then whatever status, whatever post we hold, we must succumb to the rule of law. The alternative is anarchy and chaos….”

Jan 24, 2016 - The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu made some remarks at a dinner organized by the International Law Institute (ILI), Washington DC, for its alumni in Nigeria. He noted that no country could experience meaningful development without the rule of law.

He further said that “Democracy becomes gravely imperiled if the powers of the judiciary to enforce compliance with the rule of law are subjected to legal, extra-legal, and sociological limitations. The senator also said “Our task as an emerging democracy is to continue to build a society where government agencies as well as individuals and private entities must be subjected to and accountable under the law.

The lawmaker also disclosed while speaking on the topic: ‘Strengthening the Foundations of Rule of Law in Nigeria’, at a public lecture in honour of late Prof. G. O. S Amadi, a renowned Professor of Law from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu Campus (UNEC), that anything short of respecting the rule of law would lead to anarchy. He insisted that flagrant disobedience to judicial pronouncements remained a major threat to rule of law and survival of Nigeria’s democracy.

He further said that “The efficacy of the rule of law is hinged on the compliance by governmental bodies and agencies with decisions of courts and other judicial or adjudicatory bodies. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, disobedience to court orders appears to be the norm rather than the exception in many facets of our national life,” Ekweremadu further stressed that the rule of law is indispensable in any society that craves for justice, equity, and fairness.

Nnamani JSC (as he then was) reminded us that the Judiciary is “the guardian of our Constitution, the protector of our cherished governance under the Rule of Law, the guardian of our fundamental rights, the enforcer of all the laws without which the stability of society can be threatened, the maintainer of public order and public security, the guarantee against arbitrariness and generally the only insurance for a just and happy society.” and we believe so it should be.

In the case of Governor of Lagos State v. Ojukwu, Oputa, Jsc (as he then was) conceptualized the rule of law in the following words: The rule of law presupposes that the state is subject to the law, that the judiciary is a necessary agency of the rule of law. This honorable part for justice we have since taken to prove to government, and the Senate of Nigeria, as upheld by the Attorney General of the federation that the Itsekiri people of Omadino own the entire area for the proposed maritime UNIVERSITY in its original name as highlighted in the judgements of competent courts of law below

CASE 1:

In Suit No.w/20/46, Adurumokumor (Ijaw) acting for himself and on behalf of Bakokodia Ijaw Community took action against Kponu (Itsekiri) of Omadino for a declaration of title to the land described as Bakokodia. The true Position is that the Ijaw inhabitants of Bakokodia and its environs came from Western Ijaw and were permitted by Chanomi Iye on the authority of Omadino people to settle there. Ademola J. dismissed Adurumokumors’ action on the ground that the people of Bakododia had failed to prove their title to the land claimed by them. As the Ijaws persisted in demanding tributes and rents from those using the land and fishing in the rivers, Omadino people, represented by Chief Sillo and Edremoda Golly, sued Adurumokumor on behalf of Bakokodia people in Warri High Court and successfully obtained a declaration of title over Bakokodia and the surrounding lands and rivers (Okenrenghigho inclusive). The court awarded damages for trespass against the Ijaws who, according to the Judge, were put on the land by Omadino people who acknowledge the over-lordship rights of the Olu of Warri. The Ijaws went to the West African Court of Appeal and lost.

CASE 2

After this, the Ijaws continued to disregard the above judgments, and Omadino people sued them for an order of forfeiture at the Warri High Court. Ultimately at the Supreme Court, the Ijaws accepted the judgment in which they clearly acknowledged Omadino’s ownership of the land. See Suits Nos.W/29/51, WACA No. 3707, W/37/61 and SC/393/64.

CASE 3

Okenrenghigho, another Ijaw settlement in Gbaramatu also fell under the axe of the Omadino people. In Suit 30/62 Chief Sillo (Itsekiri) versus James Uluba (Ijaw), Justice Obaseki held that the Ijaws of Okerenghigho are tenants of Omadino. The Ijaws then appealed to the Supreme Court presided over by Elias, C.J., Sowewimo and Ibekwe S.C.JJ. in Suit No. SC.37/1973.They lost.

The effect of these judgments is that the whole of Gbaramatu area proved beyond doubt is owned by Itsekiris of Omadino under the over Lordship of the Olu of Warri. Secondly, the original map of Bendel State shows clearly these lands with these names as Okerenghigho and Bakokodia as against the political name Okerenkoko and Kokodiagbene done by Ijaws of gbaramatu who by history as written by their own historians and as shown in the ruling of various court judgments migrated to itsekiri lands.

I therefore request the federal government and indeed the senate to lead by example in defense of the rule of law to name the place as stipulated in the court judgments above and acquire the land from its original owners.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Samuel Meyiwa Khalil


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