By Lukman Olabiyi
Three daughters of the late Alaye-Aba of Aba, Aiyepe, Ogun State, Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon, have sued the unincorporated Osugbo Society of Ijebuland (known as the Ogboni) over the alleged hijack of the late monarch’s body .
In a suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, they are seeking N50 billion compensation from the Osugbo Society.
The claimants, Mrs Aderonke Egunjimi, Mrs Tiwalade Abass and Mrs Adeyemi Joseph, filed the fundamental rights application through their lawyer, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN.
The defendants in the suit are; Adeleke Adetola Dako (1st defendant); Mojid Ogunmefun (2nd defendant), Lekan Adekoko (3rd defendant), Ebenezer Ogunlala (4th defendant), Fagbola Adeniyi (5th defendant), Kazeem Adeleke (6th defendant), Taorid Jimoh (7th defendant) and Abiodun Adeleke (8th defendant).
Others are Monsuru Eleku (9th defendant), Safiriyu Adeleye (10th defendant), Jamiu Salawu (11th defendant), Chief Sodiq Osiyemi (12th defendant, Chief Eji Ademeji (13th defendant), Adebisi Opanuga (14th defendant, and Ayo Olubukola (15th defendant), (sued jointly and severally as members and representatives of the unincorporated Osugbo Society of Ijebuland specifically in Odogbolu Local Government.
Ijebu Ode Local Government, Ijebu East Local Government, Ijebu North Local Government, Ijebu North East Local Government, and Ogun Waterside Local Government) and Ijebu Traditional Council (16th Respondent).
The applicants averred that Raji-Sulaimon, was a devoted and practising Muslim in his lifetime, performing pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, had several awards and recognitions by Muslim Societies because of his contributions to the Islamic faith.
They claimed that on January 24, 2021, the family had dug a grave, set up canopies for visitors and concluded funeral arrangements to bury their father according to Islamic rites when the members/representatives of the society forcefully took their father’s body away.
In their application, they accused members of the society of infringement on their rights to privacy and family life and depriving their father of a befitting burial.
The applicants are seeking an order of mandatory injunction compelling the society to return the body forthwith to their custody at the applicants’ Family House being at No 1, Alaye Aba Street, Aba Quarters, Aiyepe, Ogun State.
They urged the court to declare the conduct and practice of the 1st to 15th unconstitutional, illegal, vexatious, barbaric, obnoxious, immoral and repugnant to the dictates of civil order as enshrined in the constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2004.
The applicants are further asking the court for an order restraining Ijebu Traditional Council from giving any directions or orders to the 1st to 15th respondents contrary to the reliefs sought by the applicants.
In an affidavit in support of Originating Motion on Notice deposed to by the deceased’s younger brother, Alhaji Yisa Oloyede Sulaimon, he stated that traditionally, members of the Osugbo Society act as enforcers of the decisions of Obas in Ijebuland.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the application.