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Traditional Council Joined As Party In Suspended Dukes’ Suit Against Oba Of Benin

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The Edo State High Court in Benin City, has admitted the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) as a party in a suit instituted by some suspended Enigies (dukes) against the Omo N’ Oba N’ Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.

Two suspended Enigies of Evbuobanosa and Egbaen Siluko dukedoms in Benin Kingdom, Prof. Gregory Akenzua and Chief Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen, had on behalf of others, sued the Oba of Benin at the Edo State High court, challenging their suspension from office.

Besides, the duo on behalf of others, had claimed that it was only the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and not the monarch who can pronounce them suspended or remove them from their positions.

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Ruling in a motion on Thursday May 9, 2024, Justice Peter Akhihiero granted the 1st defendant its plea to include the Benin Traditional Council as the 3rd defendant in the suit marked B/250os/2023, while Oba Ewuare II and Edo State Government, were the 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

The ruling was in response to an application filed by the 2nd defendant’s lead counsel, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), Prof. Edoba Omoregie and his team against the claimants.

Justice Akhihiero directed parties in the suit, Edo State Government represented by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Oluwole Iyamu (SAN), Oba Ewuare II, Akenzua and Ogiegbaen, who were both represented by their counsel led by Dr. Osagie Obayuwana who had objected to the motion through the Counsel of Oba Ewuare II, to amend their relevant documents in the case to reflect the decision.

While other parties in the suit aligned with the position of Oba Ewuare’s counsel to join Benin Traditional Council in the suit, the claimants Akenzua and Ogiegbaen through their counsel, Obayuwana prayed the court not to list the traditional council as a party in the suit.

He urged the court to award cost against Oba of Benin in favour of the claimants.

The judge, however, turned down the prayers, and held that Obayuwana should not worry about the timing, insisting that: “The race is not for the swift, or the battle for the strong”.

“If they were bringing in the traditional council as necessary, I don’t see this as a problem since you people have brought the Oba to court.

“I don’t think I can shut down any party. Let them come in and file their processes”, Justice Akhihiero said, before adjourning hearing in the case to July 15, 2024 in the absence of any objection.

Meanwhile, the Edo state government yesterday said it was not involved in the suit involving the Oba of Benin and Enigies in the state.

The government also noted that it was only a defendant in the suit like the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II and as such has no interest in the matter as being insinuated in some quarters.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare, who stated this in a press briefing in Benin City, on behalf of the government, called for out-of-court settlement.

However, Nehikhare said that government was concerned that such a matter among brothers could be allowed to degenerate to the extent that it has become a court case.

He said: “The Edo state government has appealed to the parties involved to reach a peaceful settling out of court”.

Nehikhare also promised that government would like to be part of resolution of the ongoing dispute, so as to bring the matter to an amicable resolution.



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