Three children of the late Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon, the Alaye-Aba of Aba, Aiyepe have instituted a N50 billion suit against members and representatives of the incorporated Osugbo Society of Ijebuland (known as the Ogboni) before the Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta over alleged hijacking the corpse of late monarch on January 24, 2021.
The children Mrs Aderonke Egunjimi, Mrs Tiwalade Abass and Mrs Adeyemi Joseph in a fundamental Rights Human Rights application filed by their lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), accused members of the society of infringement of their rights to privacy and family life by allegedly hijacking the body of their late father Alaiyeluwa Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon, thus depriving their late father a befitting burial.
The suit was filed against Chief Adeleke Adetola Dako, Chief Mojid Ogunmefun, Lekan Adekoko, Chief Ebenezar Ogunlala, Chief Fagbola, Adeniyi, Kazeem Adeleke, Taorid Jimoh, Abiodun Adeleke, Monsuru Eleku, Chief Safiriyu Adeleye, Jamiu Salawu, Chief Sodiq Osiyemi, Chief Eji Ademeji, Chief Adebisi Opanuga and Chief Ayo Olubukola who were sued jointly and severally as members and representatives of the unincorporated Osugbo Society of Ijebuland in Odogbolu Local Government.
Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Ijebu Ode Local Government, Ijebu East Local Government, Ijebu North Local Government, Ijebu North East Local Government, Ogun Waterside Local Government and Ijebu Traditional Council.
The applicants are asking the court for an order restraining Ijebu Traditional Council from giving any directions or orders to the first to 15th respondents contrary to the reliefs sought by the applicants, arguing that they were stripped of their dignity, rights to privacy and family life, rights to freedom of conscience thought and religion which led to untold hardships and trauma when the body of their late father was hijacked by the first to 15th respondents on January 24, 2021.
They are asking the court for a declaration that the act and conduct of the first to 15th respondents by forcefully removing the corpse of their late father from their custody and other family members constitute an infringement of the applicants’ constitutional and fundamental rights to dignity contrary to Section 34 (1) of the Constitution.
The urged the court to declare the conduct and practice of the first to 15th respondents unconstitutional, illegal, vexatious, barbaric, obnoxious, immoral and repugnant to the dictates of civil order as enshrined in the 1999 constitution and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act) CAP A9 LFN 2004.
They are also asking the court to restrain the first to 15th respondents whether by themselves or their servants, representatives, agents, privies or any persons acting in their stead from continuing to keep, burying, conducting any rites or rituals or take any steps in respect to the corpse of late Alaiyeluwa Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon.
Further, they asked for an order of mandatory injunction compelling the first to 15th respondents to return forthwith the corpse of their late father, Alaiyeluwa Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon to their custody at the applicants’ Family House being at No 1, Alaye Aba Street, Aba Quarters, Aiyepe, Ogun State.
In an affidavit in support of Originating Motion on Notice deposed to by Alhaji Yisa Oloyede Sulaimon, a junior brother of the late monarch, he averred that traditionally, members of the Osugbo Society act as enforcers of the decisions of Obas in Ijebuland, adding that following the demise of Alaiyeluwa Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Suleimon, the Alaye-Aba of Aba, Aiyepe, the applicants together with the other members of his family commenced the process of according to the deceased a dignified burial and other rites in accordance with Islamic injunctions, the deceased being a practising Muslim in his lifetime.
He further stated that the late Oba Rauf Adebayo Raji-Sulaimon was a devoted and practising Muslim in his lifetime, performing pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and who had several awards and recognitions by the several Muslim Societies because of his contributions to the Islamic faith, adding that on January 24, 2021, the family had already made arrangements such as digging the grave, setting up canopies for visitors and other funeral arrangements and concluded arrangement to bury their father according to Islamic rites when the defendant forcefully took his body away.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the application.