The Kwara state government has insisted the demolition of the late patriarch and Political generalissimo, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki’s Ile Arugbo (Home for Aged) was in order after the Committee on the Review of sales of State Government property from 1999 to date declared that there is no proof of payment or Right of Occupancy on the expanse of land where the property was situated in Ilorin, the state capital.
Sen. Makanjuola Ajadi, the Chairman of the committee, disclosed this in Ilorin while briefing newsmen on the controversy surrounding government’s reclamation of the Sarakis’ property.
The Kwara State government had reclaimed the property and demolished the building on it amid protest on January 2nd 2020.
According to Sen. Ajadi, “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,” Ajadi said.
According to him, the committee discovered that there is foundation on the land with erected columns at varying areas of the larger segment of the land.
“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,” Ajadi stressed.
He described it as absurd putting a political gathering place beside a clinic.
“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.
But Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, daughter of late Olusola Saraki, in her reaction to the demolition of Ile Arugbo described the moves of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak led-government as “vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity.”
Ms Saraki, the current Minister of State Transportation, expressed in a statement that Ile Arugbo is a piece of bare land that holds symbolic value of what her father stood for — humanitarianism, and that doesn’t start nor end with a building.
She also warned that Kwara State APC must be careful to not allow a few elements to turn their personal vendetta into the official position of the party in the State.