Nigeria’s oldest retired justice, Oluwa, who sentenced Ejigbadero, infamous land-grabber, to death in the 70s dies at 102

The late Justice Isiaka Oluwa and Ejigbadero (inset)

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has expressed heartfelt condolence to the family of the late Justice Isiaka Oluwa, who passed away at the age of 102 years.

Justice Oluwa, until his death was announced on Saturday, was the oldest Nigerian retired judge.

Sanwo-Olu, in a statement on Sunday, described Justice Oluwa as godly, disciplined, courageous and loyal in his stewardship to the judiciary.

He said that the contributions of the Justice, prior to his retirement from the Bench in 1983, would always be recognised and acknowledged by members of the judiciary, especially the State High Court, which he served for many meritorious years.

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”Justice Oluwa, as an illustrious son of Lagos State, has indeed etched his name in the annals of our state.

“Not only as the oldest retired Justice, but more importantly as a renowned member of the team that blazed the Judicial path of excellence that our Judiciary has been known for,” the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu said that he hoped that Justice Oluwa’s great accomplishments would be emulated by all.

The governor prayed that “Almighty Allah comforts his family and the people of Lagos State.”

It will be recalled that Justice Oluwa, then as a High Court Judge in Lagos, presided over a popular and controversial murder case involving a powerful top Nigerian socialite, businessman and politician, Jimoh Ishola, popularly known as Ejigbadero. He was the chairman of Jimsol Nigeria Ltd, a nail manufacturing firm in Lagos.

Ejigbadero, said to be an uncompromising and notorious land-grabber, had been accused of being responsible for the death of one Raji Oba, a farmer, in 1975, in the course of his land grabbing activities, and after it was established he committed the criminal offence, he was sentenced to death by hanging.

He appealed the case, but at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, he lost the appeal, as the initial judgement was upheld an he was eventually executed in 1979.