An Ondo State High Court, sitting in Ondo town, has ordered the monarch of Ile Oluji in Ile Oluji Oke Igbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Julius Adetimẹhin, the state Commissioner of Police and five others to pay N2million to the members of the Ujamas Professional Hunters for unlawfully arresting the latter.
Other defendants in the case are Sam Olawoyin, who was a Divisional Police Officer of Ile Oluji Division), Alayande Joseph, Omobamidele Omotayo, Wale Fadare and Akinsooto Samuel.
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The hunters had challenged the detention of their members arrested during a celebration by the police on the orders of the monarch.
According to them, after spending about five days in police custody, the arrested hunters were charged to an Ondo State a magistrate court sitting in Ondo town for disturbing the peace of the community.
The case was later referred to a Chief Magistrate Court in Ilẹ-Oluji for trial.
It was gathered that the court however struck out the case against the hunters for lack of merit.
After getting favourable judgment from the court, the association of hunters later sued the Ile Oluji monarch, the police, and other defendants, at the state High Court, Ondo town for illegal detention and illegal interference.
After series of arguments from both the plaintiff’s counsel and the defendant’s counsel, the judge, Justice Peter Ikujuni, delivering his judgment, declared that the arrest and detention of the claimants were unlawful.
The judge ruled that the arrest and detention of the hunters amounted to “malicious, vexatious and oppressive prosecution, which was instigated by the defendants”.
He asked the defendants to pay the sum of N2 million to the claimants as compensation for their unlawful arrest and their detention instead of N50 million they demanded.
He however warned the hunters to give the monarch his due respect as an Oba and make sure they respect the culture and the tradition of Ilẹ-Oluji where they are living.
It was learnt that the hunters association in the town has been in a cold war with the monarch since 2018 following the appointment of one Omotayo Omobamidele as the head of the hunters association of the town by the Oba.
The hunters were said to have kicked against the action of Oba Adetimehin as they alleged that the newly appointed Omobamidele was a brother to the immediate past head of the association instead of the appointment to go to another family