HomeFeaturesNwajagu Not A Recognised Traditional Ruler In Lagos - Witness

Nwajagu Not A Recognised Traditional Ruler In Lagos – Witness

Listen to article

The trial of the Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate in Lagos, Frederick Nwajagu for alleged terrorism continued yesterday in Lagos with the testimony of the third prosecution witness, a Lagos State Civil Servant, Mrs Raulat Ibrahim.

Led in evidence by Dr. Babajide Martins who is the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the witness told Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos that the Eze-Ndigbo is not a recognized chieftaincy title in the state.

Nwajagu is on trial on nine counts, including attempting to carry out terrorist crimes, providing funding for terrorist activities, engaging in terrorist activities, and gathering support for an entity that is prohibited.

Nwajagu was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) over an alleged threat to invite members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to Lagos to secure properties of Igbo people in the state.

Read Also: Restructure Nigeria Now, Iwuanyanwu Urges Tinubu

On July 25, 2023, he applied for bail, citing his medical reports, and adding that he was not a flight risk.

At the resumption of proceedings, Mrs Ibrahim told the court her schedule of duties.

“I am a civil servant at the Ministry of Local Governments, Chieftaincy Affairs and Rural Developments. I was employed in October 2001 and made Assistant Director in 2015,” she said.

“My schedule of duties includes, upgrading of Baale/chiefs or Oba either from part 3 to part 2, creation of stool, monthly meetings with the Obas and the Lagos State Council of Chiefs and Obas. Preparing allowance of Obas, conflict resolutions and lastly stakeholders meetings.

“The processing for stool designation is from the local government. Relevant documents will be forwarded such as the minutes of the ruling house, minutes of the selectors, then minutes of the chieftaincy committee in the local government.

“The bio-data of the chieftain, the Curriculum Vitae, the picture of the chieftain and a certain amount of money which the chieftain will pay to the local government.

“Payment of moving from part 3 to part 2 then we start the processing from our ministry, we forward the document to the ministry of justice for clearance then we send it for Governor’s approval, then ratification of the executive members. Then we prepare the letter.

“Since the letter is from the local government, my office calls the chieftaincy officer of the local government for collection of the letter.

“For the Obas, the local government will forward the requirement letter to our ministry then we send it to the Ministry of Justice, then they forward it to Lagos State Standing Tribunal Enquiry for Chieftaincy Matters, the standing tribunal publishes name into the national newspaper, interested parties will join the tribunal.

“After it has been resolved, the file will be sent back to our ministry for further processing. Then we start all over again to the Ministry of Justice to governor’s office etc. Then the ministry will now issue a letter of approval. On the installation day, the certificate of issue will be sent by the Governor for approval, then the ministry will install the Oba.

“The letter of approval will be signed by the permanent secretary of the ministry. There is no installation for Chief.  It’s the letter that shows his recognition as a chief in Lagos State.”

Mrs Ibrahim stated that this procedure is governed by the Obas and Chiefs law of Lagos State 2015. She also noted that there is no Oba or recognized chief in Ajao Estate.

“So if a person claims or parades himself that he is a Chief in Ajao estate, what does that mean under the law and the procedure? asked the DPP.

“The person did not follow the due process as recognised by law and he is therefore not recognized by Lagos State,” replied Mrs Ibrahim.

When the defendant was arrested by police, he had a certificate, are you familiar with it?

No sir, we don’t issue such.

This is not a certificate signed by the governor? It’s not issued by Lagos state.

The prosecuting counsel tendered the certificate as evidence while stating that they had made a copy for the court.

Defense counsel, Chief Emefo Etubo, stated that he had no objections to the tendered evidence.

It was marked as Exhibit P6p.

What is the implication of this parade then? asked the DPP.

“Since the chief did not follow this procedure, he will be charged for two years,” said the witness.

Thereafter, the Defence counsel, Chief Emefo Etubo cross examined the witness.

What school did you attend? asked the counsel.

“I attended Maryland primary school, Maryland Comprehensive and Ondo state University Ado-Ekiti.  “I had three As and four Cs in my West African Examination Council certificate. I studied Sociology and graduated with a 2nd class.

“The meaning of this grades is that you understand this law of obas and chief which you cited in this court?

“Yes, I do”, she replied.

“Will you be surprised that the chiefs and obas in Lagos are gazetted in these laws?”

“Yes that’s the final process.”

“Did this defendant to the best of your knowledge allow himself to be paraded as Elegushi of Ikate?”

“He did not parade himself as Elegushi or Baale. He did not parade himself as any of the recognised chiefs, replied the witness.”

“Who signed exhibit p6p and their designation?”

“It was signed by the President of the Igbo-speaking community Lagos State,” said the witness.

“Do you know the meaning of the RC number in the certificate?”  I don’t know.

“Did you care to investigate this certificate before coming here?” No

“I’m seeing the defendant for the first time, I have never investigated him. The police or Department of State Services (DSS) report on this case was not copied to our department.

“The perm secretary gave me instructions on this matter. A file containing mail was sent from the perm sec to our Director of Chieftaincy then it was sent to me on December 19, 2023, and we appeared in court in January. We didn’t have the administrative file of the Eze-Ndigbo, then we sent it to the Director Legal in the archives.

“The director then said I will appear in court because we don’t have such a processed file as he is not our chief. I am conversant with the recognized chiefs in Lagos State and Eze Ndigbo is not one of them.”

Justice Adesanya adjourned till January 29, 2023, for continuation of trial

At a previous hearing, the second prosecution witness (PW2) who is a Police Investigation officer, mentioned that the defendant Nwajagu, on March 26, 2023, while addressing his subjects, recorded the purported viral video in which he said that he was going to shut down Lagos State by bringing in the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), proscribed terrorist group into Lagos to protect the Igbo Community.

He also added that the defendant was never issued a certificate by the Lagos State Government as a recognized title holder.

When he was asked again by the defence counsel, Chief Emefo Etudo, if the purported video caused panic that led to the shutting down of public facilities including schools, He answered, “The purported video brought fear and tension to the people in Lagos.

“Immediately the statement was made, we received information from the Commissioner of Police to swing into action. The video was made during the election period and most public facilities were shut down. No school was shut down as a result of his statement.”

“During this period, there were injuries and victims from elections who were brought to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID).”

The Lagos State Government had alleged that the defendant’s acts contravened Section 403(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Eastern Updates

Most Popular

Recent Comments