THE judge who handled the celebrated Ejigbadero case in the 1970s has finally broken his silence on the case.
Justice Isiaka Ishola Oluwa who clocked 100 years old spoke on the case in his recently released autobiography titled: ‘A Life in Motion Reminiscence of a Jurist at 100 years’.
Justice Oluwa said he believed the celebrated murder case influenced the enactment of the Land Use Decree (now known as Land Use Act) by the military government of General Olusegun Obasanjo.
Justice Oluwa’s account of the case as contained in the book is as follows:
“As a judge, many controversial cases were brought before me that made headlines in the newspapers. One of such cases was the criminal case of Ejigbadero. I was assigned the Ejigbadero case by the Honourable Chief Justice of Lagos State in 1975. The case attracted a lot of public interest because it involved a well-known socialite, one Jimoh Ishola who was the executive chairman of Jimsol Nigeria Ltd, a nail manufacturing company in Lagos. Ishola was better known by his alias, Ejigbadero. He had his factory at the Matori Industrial Estate, and lived in Mushin with his large family, including his four wives. Apart from being an industrialist, Ejigbadero was a well-known land speculator and property dealer. What brought him to my court was a case of murder when he was accused of killing one Raji Oba.
“As a judge, one must remain impartial about every case and not allow public sentiments to affect one’s judgement. Evidence must be presented and witnesses must be led to support or disprove every evidence. I would like to dwell more on the Ejigbadero case, which I believe generated a lot of public interest and in the long run, had more impact on the policy formulation of land matters both at the Federal level and at the State level.
“The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution led the prosecution and built an impregnable fortress of evidence against Ejigbadero. Sometime in 1974, Ejigbadero had gone to Alimosho village on the outskirt of Lagos, to clear a piece of land which he claimed he had bought. He was challenged by some of the villagers who disputed Ejigbadero’s claim to ownership.
“The land which Ejigbadero decided to clear for a new building construction, contained cocoa, kolanut and some other cash crops. The villagers accused Ejigbadero of an attempt to seize their land illegally. Ejigbadero had come to the land with some boys alleged by the villagers to be thugs. Ejigbadero claimed they were his workers. When the villagers did not allow them to work, Ejigbadero retreated after the first encounter. He returned several times thereafter and this led to clashes during which some of the villagers, including Raji Oba, were wounded. The police at Alimosho intervened and tried to bring peace but to no avail. No one was charged to court at that stage and the police also did not make any arrest.
“On August 22, 1975, Raji Oba was relaxing in front of his house at Alimosho. It was around 7.30 p.m. as his wife hurried in. She said she had seen Ejigbadero in the neighbourhood and warned her husband that he may have come again to cause trouble. The husband agreed with his wife, saying he suspected that Ejigbadero may have come to bury charms on the farm, an all too familiar occurrences in disputes over land owernership in Yorubaland. It was at this point that a gunshot shattered the stillness of the night. Raji Oba fell. His wife, Sabitu Oba, was later to give evidence that she saw Ejigbadero fleeing from the scene of the crime in the company of six other persons. Raji Oba was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Later that night on August 22, policemen arrested Ejigbadero in his Mushin residence. He was in the middle of a family celebration. Ramota, his young wife, who was delivered of a baby eight days earlier, was having a lavish naming ceremony with its attendant lavish party worthy of a big socialite of Ejigbadero’s social status. The party was attended by many top Nigerians including lawyers, judges, policemen, businessmen and women, socialites, top military officers and public servants. That was his alibi before the court. On the day of Raji Oba’s murder, Ejigbadero claimed he was far from the scene, attending to guests at his baby’s naming ceremony.
“Evidence presented to court was convincing enough, including that of policemen who saw Ejigbadero at Alimosho on the night of the murder. Some other villagers also gave evidence insisting that Ejigbadero came to Alimosho that night in the company of others in a Peugeot 504 station wagon. One Kehinde, one of the prosecution witnesses, gave evidence before the court. He said he was a security guard at Ejigbadero’s factory premises at Matori. He said on the night of the murder, the accused took time off from his naming ceremony, to visit the factory in the company of six other persons who were well-known to Kehinde. He named the six of them. He said they left from the factory premises in a white Peugeot 504 station wagon and returned in the night around 9p.m.
“The defence, led in evidence by Chief Sobo Sowemimo, made great effort to cast doubt on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. They also called witnesses to support their alibi that Ejigbadero never left his naming ceremony on that day. They called witnesses but not one of them was with Ejigbadero throughout the day. From the evidence presented before me, I had no doubt in arriving at my verdict that Ejigbadero was our man and that he committed the cold-blooded murder. He was guilty and sentenced to death.
“He appealed my judgement, but the Federal Court of Appeal in 1977 affirmed the judgement. The appeal was heard by Their Lordships Mamman Nasir, Adetunji Ogunkeye and Ijoma Aseme. Dissatistfied, Ejigbadero moved to the Supreme Court and a panel of Their Lordships Alexander, Fatai-Willimans, Irikefe, Bello and Idigbe, affirmed my judgement. The death sentence on Ejigbadero was carried out in 1979.
“The Ejigbadero case was sensational and became of national interest. It highlighted the human aspect of the chaotic land laws in Nigeria, especially in Lagos and its environs and its attendant capacity to disrupt and even destroy the lives of ordinary people. By the time the case came before my court, Nigeria was undergoing tremendous changes. The regime of General Yakubu Gowon, which came into power in 1966, had been toppled and replaced by another military regime headed by General Murtala Muhammed. When Muhammed was killed in the abortive coup of February 13, 1976, he was replaced by General Olusegun Obasanjo.
“I believed General Obasanjo or those close to him were interested in the Ejigbadero case. In 1978, the Obasanjo regime came out with the Land Use Decree which tried to streamline the issue of land ownership in Nigeria. Though it was a one blanket solution for the whole country, the decree is especially useful in Lagos for it gives full discretion to state governors on the issue of land. It also vested the ownership of all land in the state in the governor who can decide to acquire any land for the public interest.
“In the subsequent years, the decree has been replaced with the Land Use Act, but its essential features remained intact. In the past few years and especially since 2016, various state governments have attempted to address the issue of indiscriminate land-grabbing. Both the Ogun and the Lagos State governments have passed laws to prohibit seizure of land by force.”
How Sowore planned to overthrow Buhari, free El-Zakzaky – DSS
The Department of State Services (DSS) has said its investigation so far revealed that ‘Revolution Now’ was smokescreen for the actual intention of Omoyele Sowore, the candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last presidential election, to overthrow President Buhari.
The security agency also alleged that Sowore intended to free Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the detained leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) having received millions of Dollars from foreign sponsors.
The DSS also said it engaged in a painstaking investigation of Sowore’s activities in view of the quantum of evidence so far gathered and may return to court to seek an extension of the 45 days granted it by the Federal High Court, Abuja to detain him.
The DSS made this known in a fresh document it filed at the Federal High Court on Monday in response to an application by Sowore, challenging the court’s order, granting the security agency 45 days to detain him pending investigation.
In the counter-affidavit deposed to by Godwin Agbadua, an official of the DSS, it was stated that Sowore was arrested on reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence, upon his alleged involvement in terrorists’ activities.
“The respondent/applicant (Sowore) planned to violently change the government through the hashtag RevolutionNow. The respondent/applicant hid under the cover of call for mass protest with the hashtag RevolutionNow to mislead unsuspecting and innocent members of the public into joining him to topple the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“In his plot to topple the government the respondent/applicant held series of meetings with members at a prescribed terrorists‘organisation, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) with a view to mobilizing strong forces to realize his agenda at changing the government
“The respondent formed an alliance with a fugitive, Nnamdi Kanu, a self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed terrorists group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to launch series of attacks on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“After series of closed-door meetings between the duo in the United States of America, they addressed a press conference wherein they both stated their resolve to form alliance against the Nigerian government, the duo stated that they have a well-planned out strategy to realize their objective, which is toppling the government.
“The applicant/respondent is investigating the activities of the respondent /applicant as it relates to a terrorists organisation, IPOB. The facts show a conjecture between the respondent/applicant and IPOB activities.
“There is the need for the applicant/respondent to investigate such reasonable suspicion of the relationship between the respondent/applicant and IPOB.
“The respondent held series of meetings with some foreign collaborators outside Nigeria including Dubai where millions of dollars were given to him to sponsor a widespread attack on Nigeria with a view to violently removing the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and freeing Ibrahim Yaqub Elzakzaky (Shaikh).
“In furtherance to the plans to violently free Elzakzaky from lawful custody. The respondent held several meetings with a proscribed terrorist’s organisation. Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) where they strategized on how to carry out attacks to force the government to free Elzakzaky.
“The respondent stated in one of his videos that Shiite members, who are members of the proscribed terrorists group, IMN were going to join forces with him in bringing down the government. The statement and the meetings of the respondent/applicant raises issue of grave suspicion of supporting a proscribed terrorists’ organisation, IMN.
“The suspicions require diligent investigation by the applicant/respondent. The planned action constitutes a threat of violence to intimidate or cause panic in members of the public as a means of affecting political conduct
“The investigation is still ongoing. Upon the completion of investigation, the case file will be forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation for advice and possible prosecution,” DSS said.
London varsity bans beef to curb climate change
Goldsmiths University, London, has banned all beef products from its campus “to help fight climate change”.
CNN is reporting that the university also announced an additional levy of 12 cents on bottled water and single-use plastics.
Frances Corner, the university’s warden, was quoted as saying the measures is part of steps introduced to help the fight against climate crisis.
Beef is said to be responsible for 41% of livestock greenhouse gas emissions, and livestock accounts for 14.5% of total global emissions in the world.
But the university — which seeks to become carbon neutral by 2025 — said the product will be scrapped from its campus menu when the new academic year begins.
“The changes come as part of a major drive to cut carbon use across Goldsmiths as the College joins other universities and institutions in declaring a climate emergency and announcing a determined aim to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2025,” Corner said.
“I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organizations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use.
“The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore.
“Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible.”
No secret graveyards in the Northeast theatre, Army reacts to WSJ publication
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has condemned in totality a publication by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which alleged that the army has been burying scores of soldiers in secret unmarked graves, in a bid to cover up the casualty figures in the ongoing war against insurgency within the North East.
The Defence Headquarters ( DHQ), while reacting to the WSJ publication, debunked the reports stating that there are no secret graveyards in the North East Theatre.
Contained, in a communique by the Director Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the military states that “this insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication.”
The communique informed that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the internment” of its fallen heroes.
Its further reads, “It must be unambiguously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.”
Colonel Nwachukwu, also explained that in tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring funeral parade, gravesite oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics, as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.
According to the DHQ spokesman, “The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes.
“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes.
“It is, therefore, a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by Wall Street Journal.”
The DHQ urged members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard “such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced”.
Tweets by @megaiconmagg
Subscribe to our Newsletter
MegaIcon Magazine Facebook Page
Politics6 days ago
See Names Of New Oyo Commissioners And Their Portfolios
Entertainment1 week ago
Met Police to investigate Khafi for appearing on BBNaija ‘without permission’
Politics1 week ago
Joe Igbokwe: Anyone who says Buhari isn’t doing well is a liar from the pit of hell
Entertainment1 week ago
Davido, others mourn as DJ Arafat dies