The prolonged 14-year legal dispute concerning the village headship of Ikot Ekop in the Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State has finally found its conclusion. The Uyo High Court delivered a decisive judgment, dismissing the case aimed at dethroning Chief Asuakak Brown, widely known as Chief Aloysius Effiong Brown, who holds the position of Village Head of Ikot Ekop.
Chief Clement Udo, the claimant in the case, had petitioned the court to bar Chief Asuakak Brown from assuming the role of the village head within the community. However, on Wednesday, Justice Ntong Ntong ruled to strike out the case on grounds of jurisdictional inadequacy.
Justice Ntong elucidated on the court’s decision, stating that the legal proceedings, initiated on December 22, 2010, lacked a proper and valid writ of summons. This omission, according to the judge, deprived the court of the requisite jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter, rendering it unable to issue consequential orders pertaining to the village headship.
Despite recognizing Chief Clement Bassey Udo’s genuine intention to pursue his case, Justice Ntong emphasized that the legal approach did not conform to the prescribed legal procedures.
Furthermore, Justice Ntong highlighted that Chief Asuakak Effiong Brown had received official acknowledgment from the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, aligning with Section 15 of the Traditional Rulers Law. The judge underscored that there exists uncontroverted evidence supporting the lawful recognition of Chief Asuakak Effiong Brown, emphasizing that the presumption of due process was followed in accordance with traditional recognition.
Consequently, Justice Ntong affirmed that he lacked the judicial authority to disrupt such a recognized and traditional acknowledgment.