Keeping to it’s promise of demolishing Ile Arugo, late Olusola Saraki’s building, the Kwara State Government had in the early hours of Thursday morning leveled down the structures.
This follows a resolution by the Kwara state house of assembly which mandated the government to revoke the allocation of the land to the Saraki’s. Late Olusola Saraki is the father to former senate president, Bukola Saraki who was also a two time governor of the state.
Saraki had in a statement few days to the demolition said the land was duly allocated to his family, adding that a right of occupancy was issued on it. The state government in response to him however said there was no evidence of payment for the land, debunking his claim of being ever issued any right of occupancy.
Despite the government bold intent, they had to pull down the structures in the wee hours of Thursday so as to avoid confrontation.
Bukola Saraki in his early reaction to the planned demolition said Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s seven months old administration has seen legacies kept by his father being attacked.
He totally condemned the onslaught by the government of the day, declaring that the father’s legacy would not be soiled. He said
“This action is clearly a manifestation of vengeance. He believes his victory at the polls is an empowerment, entitlement and enablement to settle scores, provoke and pursue inter-family rivalry. They expected development and fulfilment of promises.”
“Seven months down the line, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has shown that its cardinal Programme is to wage war against my late father and I. He has demonstrated that his only competence and astuteness is in the area of viciously assailing the late Oloye Saraki and I. Definitely, he is a man with no sense of history. Enough is enough. Now, he has crossed the line,”
“Perhaps, I should let it be known that if Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq thinks he is taking all these actions to get at me, he is only deceiving himself. There is no basis for competition between us. Our paths cannot cross because the status that he is struggling to attain, Almighty Allah has given it to me many years before now.”
“With all his subterranean and open moves against my family, person and property, I remain unmoved.
“However, his open antagonism against my late father and his legacies is unwarranted and will not be tolerated. He has definitely gone beyond bounds as he cannot be allowed to ride roughshod on the deceased. In this war against my late father, he will not win,” he said.
The immediate past senate president further made known of his intent not to contest the claim by the state government but promised he will come out as victor.
The Government’s Own Premise
The director-general of the bureau of lands, Ibrahim Salman threw more light of the subject while reacting to the claims by Bukola Saraki. He said there was no evidence of payment for the land and as such the Saraki’s could not prove ownership of it.
“The entire land was acquired in the 1970s for Overriding Public Interest and same was initially designed to host the phase II of the State Secretariat. The construction of the said State Secretariat Phase II was actually commenced and it was at superstructure level before same was abandoned.
“The entire land was later redesigned in the 1980s for the construction of a Civil Service Clinic, State Secretariat, and a parking lot for both the Clinic and the State Secretariat.
“The Clinic was subsequently constructed in 1982, while the remaining plots of land were conceived for the expansion of the Clinic into a full-fledged Hospital.
“The dream of the State Government was stalled when part of the land slated for the parking lot was spuriously allocated in principle to one Asa Investment for commercial purpose.
“From available records, the allocation was not based on a formal application, nor application forms filled; there was no evidence of payment for the said allocation as stipulated in the letter of allocation in principle and consequently, no right of occupancy was ever issued to the Company.
“Furthermore, in flagrant abuse of the allocation terms, the company took possession of the land and constructed what is today known as “Ile Arugbo” on part of the land that was designed as parking lot and later conceived to host the expansion of the Civil Service Clinic into a full-fledged Hospital.”
How It happened
By 3am Thursday morning, enforcement team of the state government arrived the demolition site.
After initially faced with resistance from youths, the team successfully pulled down the building at 4am.
The Kwara State Commissioner for Communications, Alhaji Murtala Olanrewaju, in a statement said:
“The Kwara State Government early today began the physical reclamation of the plot of land bordering the civil service clinic in Ilorin.
“The reclamation exercise began in the early hours of Thursday to avoid any needless confrontation. Attempts by some persons to provoke government’s agents on lawful duty were resisted by the security agents who exercised the highest level of restraint and professionalism.
“Contrary to the claim that the State Government was served court papers on the matter, we state that no court paper has been served as at the time the government took steps to preserve what lawfully belongs to the people.
“Finally, we urge the people of the state to remain calm, peaceful, and be guided only by facts of the matter and not be drawn into an emotional outburst that is targeted at distracting the public from the issues at stake.
“While the administration is focused on restoring sanity to the state after years of barefaced impunity, we will do so within the limit of the law.”
He also described the planned protest against the demolition as “needless”. Bukola Saraki has since praised the people for standing with the family to protest the demolition.
Kwara state since 1999 was largely controlled by the Saraki family.
Who became governor aswell as who lead key positions in the state were determined by the late father and the family. However, Bukola Saraki lost out politically in the 2019 Kwara polls.