A Legal Icon, Chief Afe Babalola(SAN)
, has warned the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdurahman AbdulRazaq against reviewing the Supreme Court Judgement on the land dispute involving Offa and Erin Ile.
Specifically, he said the Governor lacks the powers to undertake such action in view of the subsisting apex court judgement on it.
Babalola said he handled Erin Ile’s boundary dispute case against Offa in 1971, where the court had given judgement in favour of the town, by affirming that a place named ‘Kere Ipinle’, a boundary between the two feuding towns, belongs to Erin Ile.
The Supreme Court had in its separate judgements delivered by Justices Teslim Elias and Mary Odili, ceded the disputed land to Erin Ile in 1973 and 2018 respectively, but the Kwara State
government refused to implement the verdicts.
Babalola, who spoke, during the weekend while receiving a delegation from Erin Ile at his office in Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti(ABUAD), said no individual can review the judgement of any court.
The six-man delegation comprises prominent members of Frontiers Club, Erin Ile, and other leaders, including Mr. Kolapo Usman, Muideen Bello, Ganiyu Daromosu, Barr. Adeola Ibrahim, Daromosu Azeez and Mr. Adamu .
While addressing the issue, the legal luminary said: “I was the one who handled the matter in 1971 before Justice Funsho Daramola Panel of inquiry and we won.
“Later, the supreme court, the highest judicial body in the land, gave favourable judgement to Erin Ile on the same matter in 1973.
“With this, nobody no matter how highly placed can review what the Supreme Court had said, that can’t happen”, Babalola warned.
Babalola added: “I am personally interested in this case because I handled the case ab initio and by practice and convention, I am part and parcel of Erin Ile Community”.
The Spokesman of the Erin Ile delegation, Barr. Muideen Bello applauded Babalola for his service in ensuring justice for the town, regretting that some powerful forces were working against the implementation of the Apex court’s verdict.
“It is very unfortunate that Supreme Court could be this debased. The powerful people were blocking the implementation of the judgements we got in 1973 and 2018. This shouldn’t happen in a democracy”.
Describing the constitution of review committee by Kwara Governor on the land dispute as a desecration of the judiciary, the Secretary of Frontiers Club, Erin Ile, Barr. Ibrahim Adeola, accused a top member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet of working hard to scuttle the implementation of the court’s pronouncement.
“We are aware that in the past few weeks, the Buhari’s aide has played host to the Olofa of Offa in Abuja, and has taken the latter to meet with some political officeholders. We are also aware that top on the agenda of these engagements is the land issue, particularly how to undermine the undisputable ownership of the land by Erin Ile.
“No amount of moves and the dropping of the President’s name would however change that. The Kwara State government has one duty and obligation on the land matter, and that is to enforce the Supreme Court judgement. Any attempt to use subterfuge to fraudulently seize the land for Offa for any project whatsoever will not work.
“Constitutionally and legally, an administrative panel cannot sit on appeal of the decisions and judgement of the Supreme Court and neither can it impeach judicial pronouncement”, Adeola said.
The Kwara government’s review committee chaired by former Governor Cornelius Adebayo has other statesmen like Justice Saidu Salihu; Alhaji Lak Jimoh; Chief Titus Ashaolu; Senator Simeon Ajibola; Alhaji Abubakar Ndakene; Senator Mohammed Ahmed; Permanent Secretary (Political, Cabinet and Special Services), Barrister Sabitiyu Kikelomo Grillo; and Prof. Hassan Saliu, as members.