A Port-Harcourt High Court has held that Chief Felix Amadi is the recognized Paramount Ruler of Ogbogoro Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area.
Presiding judge of the court, Hon. Justice Adolphus Enebeli, in giving judgement said the court recognized that the first defendant/counter-claimant (Chief Felix Amadi) is the Nyeweli (Paramount Ruler) of Ogbogoro Community.
The judge said that the issues at stake were land ownership and chieftaincy tussle over who should become the paramount ruler of Ogbogoro Community and heir of Rumukpalukwada Community.
Hon. Justice Enebeli held that the first defendant and counter-claimant was the recognized Nyeweli of the community who was installed as paramount ruler since 1995.
Hon. Justice Enebeli advised the parties to embrace peace since there was crisis in the community.
Peace must return to Ogbogoro, he said.
The trial lasted for 13 years at the court since the suit was filed in 2009.
The judge said over 70 per cent of the land in dispute was sold by the claimants while the suit was pending before the court.
The claimants include Chief Monday Amadi and others.
Hon. Justice Enebeli said the court saw on a visit to the disputed land that there were buildings on the land and said the claimants contradicted themselves denying that there was partition and sale of the land while the case was going on in court.
He said that the claimants’ act of partitioning and selling the land while the suit was before court was “too bad for words” even with the restraining order by the court.
He said despite series of warnings the claimants had brazenly disobeyed the court’s order and partitioned and sold parts of the disputed land.
The judge held that the land in dispute belonged to the first defendant and counter-claimant saying that those who bought land should meet with their new owner.
He also held whatever is on the land belonged to the defendant and counter-claimant and made a perpetual injunction restraining the claimants from having anything to do with the land.
He however said that the claimants had right to appeal against the judgement.
Speaking in an interview, counsel to the first defendant, and counter-claimant, Emenike Eke Geoffrey, said that the case which was long-drawn battle was between two families: Rumukpalukwada and Eliozo families, saying that it was over who was to become the paramount ruler of Ogbogoro Community.
The defence counsel said: “Both of them agreed and it is also agreed within the community that Rumukpalukwada is the very first son of their forefathers and that by their tradition it is the first son that becomes the paramount ruler of this community”.
He said that the families were separate and not joined and that he was happy that the court had given judgement in his client’s favour and expressed hope it would restore peace.