The Ikale community of Okitipupa and Odigbo local governments areas of Ondo state has won an age-long land dispute with its neigbours of Araromi-Obu.
The High Court of Justice, Ondo state in the Akure Judicial Division holding in Akure ruled in favour of the Ikale community after 15years of delay, adjournment and trials.
The landmark settlement of the legal tussle was contained in a judgement delivered in suit number: HOR/2/2004 by the court.
The people of Araromi Obu, who were the claimants had approached the wherein they sought six reliefs against the defendants.
The claimants; HRM Oba Aderemi Adelola, the Ajobu of Araromi Obuland, Mr Johnson Ladekugbe, Chief Tola Akintemi, Prince Adegboyega Adenikinju, Mr Bisi Adesanlu, Odigbo local government council for themselves and on behalf of Araromi Obu had dragged HRM Oba Faduyile, High Aderoloye Netufo, the Lisa of Ikoja among prominent defendants to court over the legal battle.
According to the people of Araromi-Obu, the defendants are laying claim to their land as well as harassing their kinsmen over the ownership of the land in question.
The claimants had through their lead counsel, Olagoke Oluyemi Fakunle, SAN prayed the court; “A declaration that the plaintiff are entitled to the statutory right of occupancy to the piece or parcel of land situate, lying and being at Araromi-Obu, Ondo state the same measuring approximately 43,212.612 hectares as contained in the plan showing further amended land in dispute plan number DIS/OD/1090/2010/001 prepared Surveyor A.O Yusuf.
A declaration that the underlisted, towns and villages belong and forms part and parcel of the said plaintiffs land; Araromi-Obu, Ajebamidele, Aiyesan, Tenola, Koseru, Oniparaga, Kajola, Imorun, Laleipa, Aiyetimbo, Ajebambo, Adewinle, Akinseye, Okefara, Omowole, Agoidogun, Obadoore, Ogunlepa, Onipetesi, Mile 49, Labon, Temidire, Sakoto1 and 11, Basola 1 and 11, Ago Alaiye, Ayetoro 1 and II, Onitea, Enujowo, Agirifon 1 and II, Igo, Sidigi, Komowa, Oke-Ojakoparun, Lokuta Libara, Araromi Oil Palm Estate Camp, Fesojoye 1, Oduduwa village, Mogaji Village, Chief Marcel’s village, Ajibodu and Bolorunduro 1 and II respectively and any other villages that are within Araromi-Obuland or under the aforesaid boundaries as contained in the said amended dispute plan hereabove mentioned.
A declaration that any purported sale, lease or transfer of any part of the aforementioned piece or parcel of land to any person or persons whatsoever including the 4th defendant by any of the 1st,2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants and their privies and agents without the consent and authorities of the plaintiff is illegal, null and void and of no any effect whatsoever and same be set aside forthwith.
A sum of #50,000,000.00 (fifty million naira only) for special and general damages against all the defendants jointly and severally for trespass committed since 1994 and still being committee by all the defendats by planting kolanuts, oil plams, rubber trees, cocoa plantations etc and building some hamlets and small mud-houses in some areas of the said parcel of plaintiffs land as foresaid including a petrol station in Ago-Alaiye illegally without the consent, fiat and authority of the plaintiffs.
On their part, the defendants led by their counsels, Otunba Olusegun Otayemi and O. B. Tobase Esq argued that the Abodi who is the progenitor of the Ikale race, founded the land in dispute and that the Ikales were the ones who settled the people of Araromi-Obu where they are. They consequently counterclaimed against Araromi Obu on ownership, injunction or forfeiture of customary tenancy.
Delivering his judgement, the court presided by His Lordship, Justice O.O Akeredolu, the Chief Judge of Ondo state ruled that the defendants have by traditional history been able to prove that the disputed lands belong to them.
According to the Judge, “I hold that they (defendants) are entitled to customary right of occupancy over the lands,” the court declared.
Speaking on the development, the legal counsel to the defendants, Barr Adesegun Otayemi who described the Judgements said the judgement of the court takes immediate effect.
” The court granted an injunction against Araromi-Obu restraining them from trespassing into Ikale territory. The part of the land Ikales went to work on is part of the area granted to them which had always been in their possession.
Otunba Otayemi however tasked the police to carry out its official responsibility by enforcing the judgement of the court and ensuring compliance by the Araromi-Obu people.
Similarly, the Chairman, Ikale Peoples Movement, Chief Kehinde Mayegun hailed the judiciary for finding time to go through fact and figures as well as ancestral lineages in determining the genuine community entitled to the disputed land.
According to him, the people of Ikale had gone through so many challenges, physical and mental torture since the legal tussle started over 15 years back.
“Tell Araromi-Obu we are not slaves; tell Rubber Estates Nigeria Limited we are not non-indigenes, we waited for 15years to get the judgement while they plundered our land.
We are happy today that our collective effort in seeking for justice and fairness has come to past as the High Court sitting in Akure eventually confirmed the Ikale people of Okitipupa and Odigbo local governments respectively as the authentic owners of the land in question,” Mayegun concluded.