The Supreme Court on Friday ended the 19-year legal dispute over the right location of the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
Resting the case in its judgment, a five-man bench of the apex court unanimously ordered the Ekiti State Government to immediately restore the headquarters of the local government to Eda-Oniyo from where it was relocated to Iye-Ekiti shortly after the state was created on October 1, 1996.
The case started in the High Court of Ekiti State with the suit filed in 1999 by the traditional ruler of Eda-Oniyo, Oba Julius Awolola, the Eleda of Eda-Oniyo, to challenge the sudden relocation of the headquarters of Ilejemeje local government from his town, as established by the state’s law, to Iye-Ekiti.
The Justice Olabode Rhodes-Vivour-led bench of the apex court, on Friday, held that the establishment of the headquarters of the Local Government in Eda-Oniyo was backed by statute and could not be relocated elsewhere without the promulgation of a new law.
Justice Paul Galinje, who read the lead judgment of the apex court’s panel, held that the act of the Ekiti State Government, relocating the headquarters of the local government from Eda-Oniyo to Iye-Ekiti “has no legal basis”.
“The location of the headquarters of Ilejemeje Local Government in Eda-Oniyo is a product of statute and no law has been promulgated to relocate it to any other place,” he ruled.
Justice Galinje upheld the earlier judgment of the Ekiti State High Court which had in 2001 affirmed that Eda-Oniyo was the lawful location of the Ilejemeje Local Government Area’s headquarters.
The apex court set aside the March 6, 2006 judgment of the Ilorin Division of the Court of Appeal which had ruled otherwise