Oba Of Benin Is Supreme In Benin – Appeal Court Declares
SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City has upturned a decision of the High Court which ruled in favour of Arisco Osemwengie and some members of the Ogiamien family who had challenged the authority of the Oba of Benin.
Arisco, supported by the Ogiamien family had carved out his Utantan kingdom out of Benin Kingdom and declaring himself an imperial majesty.
They were charged to the Magistrate Court for traditional treason and installing a traditional ruler without lawful authority as prohibited by the Traditional Rulers and chieftaincy edit of 1979 of Bendel, state as applicable to Edo state.
However, Arisco filed a suit challenging the validity of the Traditional Rulers and chieftaincy edit of 1979 which was granted in his favour by the High Court.
This led to the appeal filed by the Edo State Government against the ruling.
In his judgement at the appeal, Justice Olukayode Bada declared that the suit filed by Arisco and others against the state government and the Benin Traditional Council (BTC) at the High Court Benin City is status barred and does not disclose the reasonable cause of action.
He held that the suit was instituted outside the time limit stipulated by the status of limitation of Bendel state as applicable in Edo state adding that the law Arisco and others relied on existed during the Midwest region and has been repealed by the Traditional and chieftaincy Edit of 1979, therefore they have no locus standi to institute the suit.
He declared that Arisco and the Ogiamien of Benin Kingdom have no reasonable cause of action as they are only recognized as a chief in the palace of the Oba of Benin as indicated by the extant law.
Counsel to the Edo state government, Chief Charles Edosomwan (SAN) described the judgment as victory for the Benin traditional institution and the people of the Kingdom revealing that Arisco and others would face trial at the Magistrate court for declaring himself Ogiamien of Utantan Benin nation without the authorities of the Oba of Benin and the state government.
“The Appeal Court has its own wisdom declared that the suit filed by Defendants at the High Court was an abuse of process and there was no course of action in it and suit was caught by the limitation of action law,” he said.
“The Appeal Court said this issue has been there over 37 years ago but they brought it today just to constitute some nuisance in the polity.
“But it was declared as such and an abuse of process so the appeal was declared meritorious and was allowed and the suit in the lower court was struck out.
“There is no suit pending anymore, the only thing pending is the criminal charges against those who have perpetuated this criminality at the magistrate court and that will take its course.”
Story by Oputah David