By Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado-Ekiti
An eminent lawyer, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has cautioned Kwara State Governor Abdurahman AbdulRazaq against reviewing the Supreme Court judgment on the land dispute involving Offa and Erin-Ile.
He said the governor lacked the power to undertake such action, adding that no individual, irrespective of the position occupied, could review the judgment of any court.
The Supreme Court had in its separate judgments delivered by Justices Teslim Elias and Mary Odili, ceded the land to Erin-Ile in 1973 and 2018, but the Kwara State Government refused to implement the verdicts.
Babalola, who spoke at the weekend while hosting a delegation from Erin- Ile in his office at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), said it would amount to abuse of judicial process if the governor reviewed the court’s judgment.
The six-man delegation comprises prominent members of the Frontiers Club, Erin-Ile and other leaders, including: Mr. Kolapo Usman, Muideen Bello, Ganiyu Daromosu, Adeola Ibrahim, Daromosu Azeez and Mr. Adamu .
The legal icon said he handled the Erin- Ile’s boundary dispute case against Offa in 1971 and the Supreme Court gave judgment in favour of the town, by affirming that a place named ‘Kere Ipinle’, a boundary between the two feuding towns, belonged to Erin-Ile.
“I was the one who handled the case in 1971 and the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in the land, gave favourable judgment to Erin-Ile in 1973.
“With this, nobody, no matter how highly placed, can review what the Supreme Court has said. That can’t happen,” Babalola said.
He 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”.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Bello hailed Babalola for his service in ensuring justice for the town, noting that some powerful forces were, however, working against the implementation of the apex court’s verdict.
“It is very unfortunate that the Supreme Court could be this debased. The powerful people were blocking the implementation of the judgments we got in 1973 and 2018. This shouldn’t happen in a democracy.”
The Secretary of Frontiers Club, Erin- Ile, Ibrahim Adeola, described the constitution of the Review Committee by the Kwara governor on the land dispute as a desecration of the judiciary.
He accused a top member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet of working hard to frustrate the implementation of the court’s pronouncement.
“We are aware that in the past few weeks, the Buhari aide has played host to the Olofa of Offa in Abuja, and has taken the latter to meet some political office holders. 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 will, however, change that. Kwara State government has one duty and obligation on the land matter, and that is to enforce the Supreme Court judgment. Any attempt to use subterfuge to fraudulently seize the land for Offa for any project whatsoever will not work.”