Supreme Court Upholds Appointment of Ado Ibrahim As Ohinoyi of Ebira Land
The Supreme Court has affirmed the appointment of Alhaji Ado Ibrahim as the Ohinoyi and paramount traditional ruler of Ebiraland in Kogi State.
The apex court in a judgment on Friday struck out the suit instituted against him by six aggrieved contestants to the stool in 1998.
Justice John Inyang Okoro who delivered the lead of the unanimous judgment held that the case against Ado Ibrahim was statute barred at the time it was filed on June 3, 1998.
Justice Okoro held that since the appointment of the monarch was made public by the Kogi State government on June 2, 1997, the suit ought to have been filed within three months stipulated by section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act.
The apex court said that the case, which was filed nine months after the appointment was made in a letter signed by the then Military administrator of the state, Col. Bzigu Lassa Afakirya ran foul of the Public Officers Protections Act and had become a nullity.
Justice Okoro said: “There is no more cause of action for the plaintiffs at the trial court since they did not commence their court action within the three months the law permitted them to do so”.
A Kogi State High Court judge, Justice Hussein Tanko had in his judgment of April 2, 2006 removed Ibrahim as the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland on account of alleged irregularities and breaches of laws in his appointments.
Justice Hussein held that the appointment of the ruler by the state government was “illegal and fraudulent” because it breached the state and Ebira Chieftaincy laws.
Ibrahim’s appeal to the Court of Appeal, Abuja division was also dismissed.
The appellate court on December 12, 2009, in a judgment delivered by Justice Mary Peter-Odili upheld the judgment of the High Court.
However, not satisfied with the judgments of the two lower courts, Ibrahim approached the Supreme Court, urging it to set aside their decisions.
But the Supreme Court set aside the two judgments on the grounds that they were given in vain and in error since they had no jurisdiction to entertain a suit that was statute barred.
A fresh issue that the case was statue barred raised at the Supreme Court by the appellant through his counsel Chief Afe Babalola SAN was upheld.
The Supreme Court therefore struck out the case against the monarch and upheld his appeal challenging the two judgments by the lower courts that earlier dethroned him.
Respondents in the appeal are: Alhaji Maigida Lawal, Alhaji Momoh Jimoh, Alhaji Ibrahim Ohida, Alhaji Ahmadu Anivbassa, Alhaji Isa SaniOmolori, Engineer Idris Seriki and Comrade Momoh Sanni.