Court admits BTC in suit challenging Oba of Benin’s authority

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

Recall that two suspended Enigie (Dukes) of Evbuobanosa and Egbaen Siluko Dukedoms in Benin Kingdom, Professor Gregory Akenzua and Chief Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen had on behalf of others, sued the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II at Edo State High court, challenging their suspension from offices.

Also, the duo on behalf of others, had claimed that it is only the State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and not the monarch who pronounced them suspended for rebelling against the monarch could remove them from their positions.

Ruling in a motion on Thursday 9th of May 2024, Justice Peter Akhihiero granted the 1st Defendant 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, are the 1st and 2nd Defendants respectively.

The ruling was in response to an application filed by the 2nd Defendant Counsel lead Counsel, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, SAN, Prof. Edoba Omoregie and his team against the Claimants, Prof. Gregory Akenzua, and Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen who both took the Oba of Benin to court over their suspension as Dukes of Evbuobanosa and Egbaen Siluko Dukedoms in Edo South Senatorial District by Oba Ewuare II in 2023.

Justice Peter Akhihiero directed parties in the suit, Edo State Government represented by the State Attorney General and State Commissioner for Justice, Oluwole Iyamu, SAN, Oba Ewuare II, Prof. Gregory Akenzua and Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen, who were both represented by their Counsels 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 II Counsel to join Benin Traditional Council, BTC in the suit, but the Claimants Prof. Gregory Akenzua and Edomwonyi Ogiegbaen through their Counsel, Dr Obayuwana
prayed the Court not to list the Benin Traditional Council, BTC as a party in the suit and urged the Court to award Cost against Oba of Benin in favour of the Claimants.

But, Justice Peter Akhihiero, 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”.

According to him, “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, and adjourned hearing in the case to 15th July 2024 in the absence of any injection.

There was heavy presence of security personnel at the premises of the State High Court Complex on Sapele Road in Benin City.

Groups and Edo sons and daughters, including members of the Royal family and Chiefs displayed affection and solidarity for the Oba.

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