lle Arugbo demolition: Kwara govt dares Saraki family

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The Committee on the Review of sales of Kwara Government property from 1999 to date has lambasted former governor, Bukola Saraki, for allegedly using a part of the demolished Ile Arugbo for political gatherings.

Sen. Makanjuola Ajadi, the Chairman of the committee, spoke to newsmen on Monday in Ilorin on the controversy surrounding government’s reclamation of the land.

Saraki had vowed to challenge the government’s action.

Similarly, Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, the Minister of State, Transport, had accused Kwara Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of personal vendetta against her family.

But Ajadi told the Saraki family that there is no proof of payment or Right of Occupancy on the expanse of land where late Dr Olusola Saraki built his Ile Arugbo (old peoples home).

He said: “The attention of the Committee on the Review of Sales of Kwara State Government Properties from 1999 to Date has been drawn to the various publications on the decision of the government in respect of the land earmarked for the construction of the State Secretariat (now commonly referred to as Ile Arugbo).

“The issue of the land in question came under the terms of reference of the committee which considered several other properties of government and submitted its recommendations in July, 2019.

“As was the case with all the properties looked into by the Committee, the committee’s recommendations are based strictly on available records.

“Based on the available records, the Committee did not see proof of any payment nor an approved Right of Occupancy.

“The Committee also noted that the land in question was also a part of a larger parcel of land, part of which has been developed into a Civil Service Clinic and Secretariat complex now housing the State Ministry of Finance, among others.

“With emphasis, from all records available, there is no “Right of Occupancy” or Certificate of Occupancy” available to the private firm which the land was allocated in principle.

“There is also no application nor receipt of payments for the land. Where, therefore, is the right to a claim to this land?”

He added that based on existing convention, land set aside by Government for specific public use should not be converted to private use.

“In view of the above reasons, the Committee is convinced to recommend that the land be repossessed and put to the original use it was meant for,” the committee chairman said.

Ajadi noted that the use of ‘Ile arugbo’ to describe the land in question gave an erroneous impression of a structured building where old people were catered for, adding “this is not so”.

“What is on ground until the physical reclamation by government was a shed used by the late Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki to keep people waiting to see him for political meetings.

“In essence, the house built and lived by the late Dr Olusola Saraki is intact, not touched or demolished by the Kwara State Government.

“A hospital is supposed to be a serene environment for welfare of patients; it is definitely not a political war centre where people make the loudest noise, fight, or found themselves enmeshed in commotion and fatal stampede which was the lot of that place,” Ajadi said.

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