BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – A group known as the Uk’Omu Igala Organization (UIO), an umbrella organization for all socio-cultural groups in Kogi East, has called for cessation of ‘unprovoked attacks on Igala kingdom’ over court ruling that affirmed Igala ownership of Ajaokuta, Lokoja and Koton-Karfe.
In a statement signed by Commodore Abdul Amade (rtd), the National Leader of UIO, the body called on Ebira, Okun and other interested parties in Kogi State, who are not comfortable with the judgment to seek redress in a court of law, instead of hurling insults on Igala people.
According to the statement released at the the weekend and made available to Forefront, “On June 2, 2020, the Federal High Court in Lokoja, under incorrigible Justice Donatus Okorowa, delivered a landmark judgement on the ancestral and historical ownership of Lokoja, Koton-Karfe, and Ajaokuta. The judgment, based on documentary and historical evidence, affirmed that the area is part of Igala Kingdom. The Court further demanded that the Federal Government should pay Igala Kingdom the sum of N10 billion debt owed Attah Igala since the colonial era.
“The courageous judgment, widely commended by a cross-section of Nigerians and the international community, has been variously attacked by some ethnic communities in Kogi State. As if it were a call to arms, these groups have taken to an out of the ark, old-fashioned way of handling the pronouncement of the judiciary – insults, provocative action, and threats of fire and brimstone. Ignorant of their own ancestry, they have issued statements that denigrated the Igala kingdom, which had nurtured and protected their forefathers, so that their memories are not forgotten.
“As a sign of maturity, Igala sons and daughters have restrained themselves from entering into the mud, because the truth, like the sun, has no hiding place. The Federal High Court in Lokoja spoke the incontrovertible truth, which cannot be overturned by insults and naked threats. Some have planned to engage in a street protest against the truth.
“Uk’Omu Igala Organisation, the umbrella organization for all social-cultural groups in Kogi East, wishes to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Our silence since the insults was not an indicator of cowardice or the lack of response to the ignorance and falsehood being peddled on the social media and other platforms. We will no longer entertain foolish arguments and insults on Igala kingdom.
“We salute the courage of Agaba’idu, Attah Igala, His Royal Majesty Idakwo Michael Ameh Oboni, who, despite provocations, has maintained his calm and prevailed on his subjects against responding to false and irritating reactions to the judgment.
“The matter of the ownership of Ajaokuta and Lokoja has taken a judicial dimension, and anyone who has issues with the initial judgement should demonstrate his interest by going to the court of law. The judgement cannot be overturned by insults, threats and provocations.
“We call on the government of Kogi State, the institution that has the responsibility of ensuring peace and security, to call these trouble-makers to order. Also, UIO calls on the Inspector General of Police and Kogi State Commissioner of Police, DSS, to activate their intelligence network to bring to book all criminally-minded persons, who, puffed up by undue ethnic bigotry, have continued to threaten Igala kingdom with unprovoked violence. It is unfortunate that some traditional rulers have encouraged their subjects to engage in uncouth, ignorant and criminal activities, as a way of objecting to the judgment. Instead of dissipating energy on insulting Igala kingdom, we advise them to retreat, put together their own contrary evidence, and meet Igala kingdom in court.”