Maritime varsity: INYC wants FG to obey court judgments

President Muhammadu Buhari
  • As Alhassan tells APC: I’m sorry over comment

The  Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, has called on Federal Government  to respect the decision of the Supreme Court and other courts of competent jurisdiction concerning the ownership of the land where the  Maritime University is been sited, while commending the government for releasing N2 billion for the take off of the university.

The INYC president, Comrade Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, made this known in a statement yesterday in Warri. He said the federal government should extend the same level of commitment shown for the take off of the university in the ownership tussle of the land where the university is established between the Ijaws of Gbaramatu in Warri South West Local Government of Area of Delta State and the Itsekiri people of Omadino community in Warri South Local Government of Area of the state which has been settled at the Supreme Court.

Agbetiniyiro Weyinmi Agbateyiniro went further to site a court judgment in the case of Chief E.E. Sillo and two others (for themselves and on behalf of the Omadino people) vs. James Uluba and 2 others  (for themselves and on behalf of Okerenghigho people) with suit number W/30/1962, in 1969, the trail judge held that: The evidence of the plaintiffs (i.e. the Itsekiri of Omadino) and their witnesses as to the founding of Okerenghigho before me in this case is more credible than the defendants’ (i.e. the Ijaw of Okerenghigho) evidence leads me to the conclusion that Okerenghigho or Okenghigho was founded by the plaintiffs’ ancestors and that the original ancestor of the defendants by name Akpata and his followers settled on the land with the permission of the plaintiffs’ ancestors.

And I find that he accepted his position as their customary tenant.

“It must be noted that that name of the town in which litigation was fought and won is Okerenghigho and not Okerenkoko and it is an Itsekiri town Said Agbateyiniro.

“We are aware that this judgement is in the judiciary record of this country and on that ground we laud the commitment of the Federal Government  in ensuring the maritime university take off in anticipation of the enforcement of the  of this judgement”’ he added.

Meannwhile, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan— who last week said she would not support President Muhammadu Buhari should he decide to seek reelection in 2019 —has apologised for her “indiscretion”, the All Progressives Congress (APC)  said yesterday.

The minister, who said she would support former Vice Presdent Atiku Abubakar who is her mentor, to run in 2019, met for  two hours with party leaders led by National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun. She was summoned to clarify her statement.

National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi told reporters after the meeting that Hajia Alhasan had accepted her fault, adding that while she had a right to give support to whosoever she like, the timing of her statement was wrong.

The minister, who arrived at the secretariat at about 1.50 pm, did not leave until 4.05 pm.

She declined to speak with reporters, saying:  “I can’t talk when the APC spokesman is here with me. I’m not the party’s spokesperson.”

Abdullahi, who saw her off to the car,said the party recognised the minister’s right to say her mind but was of the view that with her position in the government and the party, the timing of her statement was wrong and capable of sending the wrong signal to Nigerians.

He said: “Since the issue of the comment she made came up, the party had not said anything regardless of what individuals might have told you because we are a party that recognise the right of her members to express their opinions or views.

“We also had an opportunity to discuss with the minister to understand what she said and in what context she said so before knowing how to respond. So, when she came, we asked her to explain to us what truly transpired and in what context she said what she said and she did offer the explanation.

“Now, having offered her explanation, we acknowledged that as a member of this party, she is entitled to her opinion and she is entitled to her choice. However, as a senior member of this party, her statement represents an act of indiscretion because with the kind of position she occupies within the party, she is a party leader in her own right, what she said was not what she was supposed to say at the time that she said it.

“She ought to have exercised greater judgement than she did and she acknowledged that yes, maybe she ought not to have. Maybe the timing was wrong and she apologised if she had put the party in any difficult position.

“I want you to take note of the fact that nobody is questioning her right to take the position she has taken. We have not come out to say, ‘why are you saying you are supporting this person?”

The APC spokesman said the party never discussed the option of resignation with the minister. “That did not come up.”

He added: “If this was 2018 and the people have filed their applications to say they are contesting and she now comes out and says she is supporting this person, how can that be an issue? But we are still in 2017. We are still far away.

“(Former Vice President) Atiku (Abubakar) has not said he is contesting. He has not collected any form. He has not announced to anybody that he is contesting. So, that is what we mean by the timing.”

Vanguard with additional report from Nation