Court resolves Mafoluku rulership tussle, 24 years on
AFTER 24 years of legal battle over the traditional ruler of Mafoluku town in Lagos, victory has finally come the way of Chief Hussam Raimi Elemo, who the State High Court, Ikeja affirmed as the authentic ruler of the town.
In the judgment, Justice M. O. Meya, dismissed the suit filed by the claimants; namely Chief Muftau Abayomi, Muyinu Ariori, Alhaji Sufian Ishola Aregbe and Alhaji Raliu Memud, on behalf of themselves and as representatives of Mafoluku Olori, Ogun Oloko and Ndamiru families.
The claimants had in 1991 shortly after the installation of Chief Hussam Raimi Elemo, (first Defendant) as the Baale of Mafoluku, dragged the traditional ruler before the court praying it to quash Hussam’s appointment. They also joined the Ikeja Divisional Chieftaincy Committee and the Lagos State Council of Chiefs, who were the appointing and approving authorities, as second and third defendants respectively.
The claimants, among their prayers, urged the court to declare the appointment of Hussam null and void and to pronounce Chief Muftau Abayomi, the first claimant, as the Baale of Mafoluku.
In their common defence, the plaintiff claimed they are the owner of Mafoluku. According to them, the ancestor of Elemo family, Opegbuyi, where Hussam hails from, had given the area to Mafoluku, the ancestral father of the claimants “in an absolute grant in return for the military aid rendered to the Elemo family against slave raiders.”
Hussam in his evidence testified that he was duly appointed the Baale and duly installed in 1991. The Baale refuted the claim by the claimant that the land had been granted to them in perpetuity by his ancestral father, Elemo, averring that the claimants are customary tenants of the Elemos.
In quashing the petition, Justice Meya upheld the position of Hussam that the Mafoluku ‘Baales’ as claimed by the claimants were never known to the state government or any authority, adding that one of the claimants (Muyinu Ariori) admitted this in his evidence before the court.