Offa/Erinle Land Dispute: Afe Babalola Warns Kwara Governor, Says Erinle Won Case In Supreme Court, 1973
Says ‘Nobody Can Review Supreme Court Judgement’
ADO-EKITI – Foremost Senior of Nigeria(SAN),Aare Afe Babalola has revealed how he won the land dispute suit involving two warring communities in Kwara State(Offa/Erinle) in favour of Erinle in 1973 at the Supreme Court.
The two communities had lived with recurring boundary fights with attendant loss of lives and properties.
Babalola dropped these hints while playing host to a delegation of Erinle leaders at his office on Saturday warned that ” no individual can review the judgement of the Supreme Court .
The legal icon and founder, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti(ABUAD) therefore cautioned the Kwara State Governor, Abdrahman AbdulRasaq against indulging in any act of review.
Top members of Frontiers Club, Erin Ile, and other community leaders including : Mr. Kolapo Usman, Muideen Bello, Ganiyu Daromosu, Barr. Adeola Ibrahim, Daromosu Azeez and Mr. Adamu were amongst the entourage.
Reliving his almost 50 -year legal experience in the matter Babalola said ” I handled the 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.”
“I was the one who handled the case in 1971 and the supreme court, the highest judicial body in the land, gave favourable judgement to Erin Ile in 1973.
With this, nobody, no matter how highly placed can review what the Supreme Court had said, that can’t happen”, Babalola warned.
“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 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 .
Butttesding Babalola ‘a position on the matter ,the spokesman of Erin Ile delegation, Barr. Muideen Bello, thanked the senior lawyer 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 .
‘ 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.
“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 office holders. We are also aware that top on the agenda of these engagements are the land issue, particularly how to undermine the undisputable ownership of the land by Erin Ile.
“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.
Meanwhile, 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.
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