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Court Settles Chieftaincy Matter Between Brothers

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An Auchi High Court in Edo yesterday  settled the eight-year old Ohordua clan  chieftaincy dispute.

The dispute, which started soon after the demise of the traditional ruler, Chief  Burns Aikpaojie, in 2002, had claimed many lives in the Esan Local Government Area  of the state.

The dispute over the legitimate successor to the throne was between two sons who  were born by the two wives of the late ruler.

After his father’s death, Matthew Aipaojie, the plaintiff, claimed that he had been  installed as the new monarch only for the other son, Ailabogie Aipkaojie, the  defendant, to lay claim to the title and chased  his brother from the community.

The latter had laid claim to the stool on the grounds that he, and not Matthew, was  the first  son of the late royal father.

The dispute led the plaintiff to approach the court, asking it to recognise him, and  not his brother, as the rightful occupant of the stool.

Joined in the suit were Ailabogie, the sixth defendant; the state government,  Commissioner forLocal Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Esan South-East Local  Government and two others as defendants.

In her judgment, Justice E. F. Ikponmwen, said the evidence provided by the defendant  showed that he was older than the plaintiff.

The judge, however, noted that the plaintiff provided documentary evidence to show  that he was installed as the new monarch after his father’s death by the clan’s  king-makers, while evidence that the defendant was installed was provided only by  his mother.

She subsequently awarded N5,000 as costs to the plaintiff.

However, the counsel to the defendant, Mr Edward Yalaju, rejected the judgment,  saying:

“I can tell you that we have this morning filed a motion to quash this judgment  because the defendant was not given fair hearing.

“This is no judgment; the judge foreclosed us and we have reported this to the  chief justice.”

In his reaction, the counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Nyerhovwo Ohre, lauded the  judgment, describing it as “very comprehensive”.

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