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Group sues the governors of the Southwest, Edo, Kogi, and Kwara over kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism

The governors of the Yoruba-speaking Southwest states have been brought before a Federal High Court by a pan-Yoruba organization, the Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation (YKLTF), over the escalating insecurity in the area.

The Federal High Court’s Ibadan division received a lawsuit with the case number IB/CS/189/22 that included claims against the governors of Kwara, Kogi, and Edo states due to the presence of Yoruba speakers in those regions.

Plaintiffs stated in the lawsuit they decided to pursue legal action as a result of the governors’ apparent indifference to the security needs of the people living in their various states, according to Mr. Tayo Douglas, the group’s attorney.

The plaintiffs, Senator Olatokunbo Ogunbanjo, Chief (Mrs.) Ronke Okusanya, Prof. Bisi Sowunmi, and Mr. Olakunle Osuntokun, filed a lawsuit on their own behalf and on behalf of the registered trustees of the Yoruba Koya Leadership and Training Foundation. They specifically requested that the court issue a “Order compelling the defendants to take all lawful and legal means necessary” to protect the defendants

Additionally, they requested “another order compelling the defendants to take all lawful and legal measures necessary to protect their respective communities and farmlands from the encroachment and invasion of both local and foreign herders, bandits, and kidnappers who have continued to prevent the people of the communities from realizing their full potentials of an enabling environment favorable to their social and economic development.”

The Southwest states’ governors and attorneys general, as well as the states of Edo, Kogi, and Kwara, are the defendants.

The group said in a 17-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the lawsuit that both domestic and foreign invaders routinely target Yoruba people for kidnapping, armed robberies, terrorism, and banditry.

They stated that the lawsuit is in accordance with Nigeria’s Constitution and in the best interests of the Yoruba ethnic group, who are guaranteed absolute rights under both the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, to defend their way of life and themselves from bandits and foreign or local herders.

The affidavit’s deponent, Otunba Osibogun, stated that recent kidnapping, banditry, and robberies by foreign and local herders and bandits along the highways unchallenged have made it dangerous to travel by road through the states inhabited by the Yoruba people in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo.

He claimed that a risky visit to several farming communities in Yorubaland to speak with and interact with the farmers and other locals revealed that life has become extremely difficult, unpleasant, and frustrating for the farmers, who can no longer go to their farms for fear of being killed or abducted by both foreign and local herders.

It will be recalled that in the past, Osibogun said, “We made attempts by sending emissaries and letters to the governors, but they were unsuccessful. To at least request that they assist the citizens, we have chosen to initiate legal action.

The group thinks that taking this course will force the governors to act quickly and honestly for the benefit of the people under their control.

The court will need to decide, among other things, “whether or not the Yoruba ethnic group or the community of Yoruba people domiciled or resident in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States of Nigeria can, in accordance with Sections 33, 34, and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), and Articles 4, 5, and 6 of the African Charter on Human and

“Whether or not and by virtue of Articles 3, 14 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Yoruba ethnic group or community within the Federation of Nigeria and domiciled or resident in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States have the rights to demand that the defendants be compelled to protect their community and their farmlands from the encroachment and invasion of both local and foreign herders, bandits and kidnappers who have continued to prevent the people of the said community from realizing their full potentials of having enabling environment favourable to their social and economic development?

“Whether or not the continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic community farmlands, roads and other facilities in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states by foreign and local herders, bandits and kidnappers without any lawful or justifiable reasons and the inability of defendants in arresting or combating the incessant and unprecedented carnage is not an antithesis and contravention of the oath of office sworn to by the Defendants in pursuance of Section 185 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) or any other extant laws?

“Whether or not the sudden and continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic community land of Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states by foreign and local herders, bandits, marauders, kidnappers and rapists and [the] inability of defendants taking any step to arrest or combat the invasion and carnage have not exposed the Yoruba ethnic group and community to a perilous and dangerous situation in contrast to the assurance of their inalienable rights as preserved under Articles 19, 20, and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004?”

They submitted that if the answers to the above questions are in the affirmative then the court should declare that, “the Yoruba ethnic group or the community of Yoruba people domiciled or resident in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states of Nigeria can by virtue of sections 33, 34 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) and articles 4, 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 compel the defendants to protect their lives, dignities, personal liberties as well as their freedom from any acts of discrimination, dominion and oppression by the local and foreign marauding herders, bandits and kidnappers who continue to terrorise, rape, maim, kill and kidnap the people of the said community daily without any inhibition.

“A declaration that by virtue of articles 3, 14 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Yoruba ethnic group or community within the Federation of Nigeria and domiciled or resident in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states have the rights to demand that the defendants be compelled to protect their community and their farmlands from the encroachment and invasion of both local and foreign herders, bandits and kidnappers who have continued to prevent the people of the community from realizing their full potentials of enabling environment favourable to their social and economic development.

“A declaration that the continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic community farmlands, roads and other facilities in Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States by foreign and local herders, bandits and kidnappers without any lawful or justifiable reasons and the inability of Defendants in arresting or combating the incessant and unprecedented carnage is an antithesis and contravention of the oath of office sworn to by the defendants in pursuance of section 185 (1) & (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As amended) or any other extant laws.

“A declaration that the sudden and continuous invasion of the Yoruba ethnic community land of Edo, Ekiti, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo states by foreign and local herders, bandits, marauders, kidnappers and rapists and [the] inability of defendants taking any step to arrest or combat the invasion and carnage have exposed the Yoruba ethnic group and community to a perilous and dangerous situation in contrast to the assurance of their inalienable rights as preserved under Articles 19, 20, and 22 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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