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Monday, December 6, 2021

The first 419 in the history of Nigeria

 



It was this Itsekiri man who as an agent first leased Warri city lands to the British Government in 1908 (from Ogbe Ijoh and Agbassa lands).


But Was Dore Numa a Native of Warri City? No. He was a Native of Odogene village in the Benin River. He was approached as an agent, not the owner. But most of the lands he leased resulted into court cases, because he claimed them to be Olu lands.


This was because there was no Olu then and he was appointed by the British as a Warrant Chief to represent the Itsekiri people since there was no OLU. This he did so that he could collect all the proceeds of the Leases into his pocket. All the lands he leased whether Urhobo, Ijaw or Itsekiri lands ended up in court cases as the real owners challenged him that the lands were not Olu lands.


He leased Ogbe Ijoh lands(Ijaw)


He leased Agbassa lands( Urhobo)


He leased Ogidigben lands(Itsekiri)


He leased Sapele lands(Urhobo)


He leased Oghara lands.(Urhobo)


When he was alive He did not lose any case.


Why?


Because he was Power exemplified in the Warri Province.( Later Delta Province). He was the Paramount Chief of the Warri Province, the last person you meet before you get to the Resident (British). He was the Executive Traditional head.


He was the Head of the Warri native court of appeal- in other words- the Chief Judge of the state in Customary and land matters.


He was also a law maker.


He was the only member in the whole of the South South that was a member of the Nigerian National Council of 1914 formed by Lord lugard. So he was a Chief Judge, a Federal Minister a Governor and a Parliamentarian. And most of these appointments came directly from England, for he was a recipient of the king’s medal in 1907.


He was given this Position because he help betrayed Nana in 1894, by showing the British a Secret route to enter Ebrohimi. He also did that against Oba Ovonranmwen in 1897.


He was able to win all these cases, because he was dealing with a Population that was highly illiterate.


When he knows that he would lose a case, he will opt to use legal technicalities made by the rules of court, which he knows very well but which his victims did not know.


1) How come every piece of land he leased for the BRITISH (Whether Urhobo, Ijaw or Itsekiri) as Olu land ended up as a court case?


2) How come he did not lose any of the Court cases when he was alive but his Successors from


Ginuwa II, lost all the lands in the same Court case except the Agbassa lands which even Parliament had to intervene to remedy??


In 1941, Oghara recovered their lands using the courts.


In 1942, Sapele recovered their lands using the Courts.


Now see how selfish this man could be?? He went to court claiming that he leased the lands as Olu lands and because he occupies the office of the Olu, he should take the proceeds.


But the blood descendants of the Olu led by Denedo and William Moore sued that if the lands were Olu lands, then the Proceeds ought to be given to the blood descendants of the Olu and not a British appointed Warrant Chief like him.


Dore Numa argued that the money from the lease belonged to the “Office” of the Olu and not the “Person” of the Olu.


HE WON….


He won them down to the Supreme Court.


But the descendants of the Olu were also crafty and cunning.


Seeing that the money belonged to the office of the Olu as decreed by the Courts, they quickly wrote to the Government that they have decided to crown an Olu for themselves after 88 years of interregnum and needed that Money to build a new Palace for the incoming Olu in ODE ITSEKIRI.


At last the British accepted the Superior logic. Dore had been cornered.


The British had no choice and asked Dore Numa to stop forthwith, using the full funds.


He should keep 1/6th for himself, and pay 5/6th into the Olu trust Fund.


That was a big blow to him and he never forgave the Itsekiris for that.


Why you may ask?


Because immediately he got a Court Judgement against the Agbassa Urhobo people on fraudulent technical ground that they were Customary Tenants to the jikiris, the jikris of Okere took the Okumagba family to court being that they are Urhobos. They claimed that by that Agbassa Judgement, the Urhobos in Okere were Tenants to the jikiris and must pay them rents.


Surprisingly the Court of first instance gave the jikiris victory using the Ogegere versus Dore Numa as an Authority.


But the Okumagba family appealed to the Appeal court headed by Dore Numa himself, a Court in which he presided.


But Dore Numa shocked his own jikiris to their bone marrow, by paying them back for removing food from his mouth.


So in the 1927 case of Nikoro Versus Okumagba, Chief Dore Numa gave the Historic


Judgement that:


“The Urhobos and the Jikiris have been living together for centuries, without one paying rent to the other…And I cannot hold so now”…


This controversial man died in 1932

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