THE AGBASSA PEOPLE ARE CUSTOMARY TENANTS TO THE OLU OF WARRI

In recent times much publicity has been mounted by both ijaw and urhobo living in Warri for a claim to


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THE AGBASSA PEOPLE ARE CUSTOMARY TENANTS TO THE OLU OF WARRI


In recent times much publicity has been mounted by both ijaw and urhobo living in Warri for a claim to the ownership of Warri, the home of the Itsekiri people. 

 

The truth is that all the land in Warri is Itsekiri land being held in trust for them by OLU OF WARRI as Overlord, this accounts for the fact that the communal land rights law 1958, was made applicable to the entire Warri, Government having satisfied itself as required by section 3 cap. 24 of the law which states as follows:- The Governor in council May, after causing such inquiry to be held under section 17 as may be necessary or expedient by order ,(a) apply the provision of this law to any area within the region;(b) declare to be the traditional authority in respect of a community, for the purpose of this law, those chiefs whose chieftaincy titles are associated with the community. 

 

Whatever land is occupied by the urhobo and ijaw in Warri is so occupied only as CUSTOMARY TENANTS of Itsekiri and the OLU OF WARRI .it is common knowledge that the urhobo and ijaw living in Warri have in recent years challenged the overlordship of the Olu of Warri over a parcel of land occupied by them, but it is not generally known how woefully they have failed. 

 

The first case is that in which one Ogegede, an Urhobo, acting for himself and on behalf of the Agbassa people ( Agbassa is a quarter in Warri ) , sued Chief Dore Numa , an Itsekiri Chief who at that time was accredited representative of the olu of Warri , for an account of rents payable in respect of leases of parcel of land in Warri granted on behalf of the Olu of Warri. The case started in the Supreme Court of Nigeria Divisional Court, Eastern division , Warri assizes, now Warri High Court 1, on the 6th day of November 1925, between Ogegede and Chief Dore Numa. Ogegede claim was for account of rents. 

 

THE JUDGEMENT:- l see no reason for granting the application which was before me yesterday viz, that chiefs Ogbobine and omagbemi should be joined in this case as co defendants. 

 

The plaintiffs ( Ogegede, Agbassa man) claim is for an account of rents collected by the defendant ( Chief Dore Numa , Itsekiri man) in respect of a portion of Agbassa land leased to the government since 1908. No explanation has been given me as to why there has been a delay of 17 years in preferring it. They come to this court in the persons of a series of utterly illiterate peasant witness . Of the first three, each of them seemed to me merely senile, and l accept ( not without hesitation) their counsel’s assertion that they were sober or at least normal in the witness box. Each of the others seemed to me to be abysmally stupid as well as ignorant. 

 

The evidence, such as it is, of the whole set of them is a tissue of hearsay, of rumor, of contradiction, of absurdities. Where it is not merely fatuous it is obviously fictitious. The local and legal position of the defendant was on 1st February 1924, finally laid down by full court in Denedo vs Dore Numa. 

 

That decision has been acted upon by the executive without any opposition or criticism until the filing of this case , which if successful, would strike out its very roots. I do not consider it necessary to call upon the defendant or his witnesses, the onus of proof is on the plaintiffs and they have , in my opinion, signally failed to discharge it. 

 

Their claim seems to me both idle and preposterous. The fact that they have made it at all ( and of that l can take judicial cognisance ) has caused no little local excitement, and has to a certain degree dislocated trade and might even have led to a breach of the peace . I dismiss the plaintiff claim and award cost to the defendant assessed at one hundred and twenty - five guineas. 

 

(Signed) T.D. MAXWELL,J . 

6th NOVEMBER,1925

 

After this court judgement and other judgements that has declared Itsekiri people and the olu of Warri , the owners of Warri south , North and southwest. Delta state government is still oppressing the Itsekiri people and their king. 

 

Itsekiri leased those lands in Warri to Nigeria government not Delta state government, l hereby call on the federal republic of Nigeria to call Delta state government and call those customary tenants in Warri south , North and southwest to order. 

 

The Itsekiri will not stop to push to gain freedom in their hometown. Itsekiri are descendants of Yoruba, Igala and Benin. Itsekiri people did not meet anybody in Warri when the various ancestors came to found Warri . 

 

Itsekiri people are law abiding citizens that does not make the Itsekiri people lazy . 

 

Armstrong OMARETSULI Yomere 

Omadino Management Committee of the Trust, Omadino Community. 

Public Relations Officer.


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