The Akwa Ibom State government and the Traditional Rulers Council (TRC) in the state have agreed to resolve their disagreements regarding the amended Traditional Rulers Law, Cap 155, through an out-of-court settlement.
A group of royal fathers had taken legal action against the Akwa Ibom State government, the State Assembly, and the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, concerning the amendments to the TRC Law Cap 155, which granted life and permanent presidency to Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Etuk.
The plaintiffs, including the Paramount Rulers of Annang, Urueffong Oruko, Okobo, Mbo, Eastern Obolo, Ibeno, Oron, and Udung Uko Local Government Areas, sought the rotation of the esteemed traditional stool.
During the court hearing, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Barrister Ekpenyong Ntekim, a former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, along with Barrister Jumbo Udom and five others, made an oral application to explore an out-of-court settlement. They also requested a short adjournment for the parties to report on the progress of the settlement.
Ntekim stated that the application aimed to restore and maintain peace in the state.
However, the Attorney General of the State and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom, SAN, represented by Barrister Bassey Ekanem, expressed dissatisfaction with the oral application. Although he confirmed that the State Attorney General and Barrister Ntekim had met with Governor Pastor Umo Eno to find a peaceful resolution to the dispute, he argued that the plaintiffs should have submitted a written application in accordance with the terms of settlement.
The objection from the Attorney General’s representative was overruled by the court, citing the case of Habib Bank Plc and Lodigiani Nigeria Limited reported in 2010, where the Court of Appeal emphasized the duty of trial courts to encourage parties to settle disputes out of court.
Justice Archibong, the presiding judge, highlighted that the desire for peace and settlement of the dispute was evident in the arguments made by the counsels, and the form or manner of application should not impede progress.
Counsels for the plaintiffs, Barrister Ekpenyong Ntekim and Barrister Uyobong Jumbo Udom, expressed optimism during their interactions with journalists, stating that with the positive disposition of the State Government, the dispute would soon be resolved. They also expressed gratitude to the court for granting them leave to explore an out-of-court settlement.
Please note that the information provided is based on the given context, and any further developments or updates regarding the situation may not be reflected in this response.