More houses to go in Ilorin, says Kwara committee

Date: 2020-01-06

Committee on the Review of the Kwara State Government Properties from 1999 to 2019 on Sunday said more licences for landed properties will be revoked and houses demolished based on its recommendations to the government.

It explained that the late Dr Olusola Saraki's house (Ile Arugbo) was among those illegally acquired and recommended for acquisition. The committee said it submitted its report in July, 2019, with many recommendations for the government to implement.

The committee's chairman, Senator Suleiman Ajadi, said his panel advised the government to acquire some properties and pay compensation to their owners, where necessary.

Ajadi faulted the controversy on the reclamation of Saraki's land for civil service clinic.

The chairman noted that the furore was needless because the state government had only recovered a property that originally belonged to it but was "unlawfully" diverted for private use.

Ajadi told reporters in Ilorin, the state capital, that many of the publications on the land were either erroneous or mischievous.

He said there were no proofs anywhere that the land ever belonged to Asa Investment Limited.

Ajadi said: "The issue of the land in question came under the terms of reference of this 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, recommendations were based on strictly available records from the archives of government.

And based on the available records, the committee did not see proof of any payment nor an approved Right of Occupancy, even though there was a letter of allocation in principle."

"In reaching its conclusions, the committee noted foundation work with erected columns at varying areas of the larger segment of the land. The committee also noted that the land in question was a part of a larger parcel of land, part of which has been developed into the Civil Service Clinic and secretariat complex now housing the stateís Ministry of Finance, among others.

"Finally, based on the existing convention that land acquired by government in overriding public interest cannot be converted to private use, unless under extraneous circumstances, which require the express approval of the governor, the committee did not see a case made for this land and neither was there any approval from the governor to convert it to private use. In view of the above reasons, therefore, the committee was compelled to recommend that the land be repossessed and put to the original use it was meant for."

He added: "let me draw the attention of Nigerians to the use of Ile Arugbo to describe the land in question. Usage of that phrase leads to many people erroneously thinking of a structured building where old people were catered for. This is not so. What was on the ground until the physical reclamation by the government was a garage-like structure (a shed) used by the older (late Dr Olusola) Saraki to keep people waiting to see him or to hold political meetings.

"In addition, it is important to discuss the issue of ownership, which should be central to the whole debate. With emphasis, from all records available, there is no 'Right of Occupancy' or 'Certificate of Occupancy' available to the private firm to which the land was allocated in principle. There was also no receipt of payments for the land. Where, therefore, is the right to a claim to this land?

"Another issue of note is the absurdity of putting a political gathering place beside a (medical) clinic. An hospital is supposed to be a serene environment for medical welfare of patients; it is definitely not a political war centre where people make the loudest noise, fight, or find themselves enmeshed in commotion and fatal stampede, among others, which was the lot of that place."

"I, therefore, on behalf of all of my committee members, some of whom are present here today, believe it was necessary and prudent to make this public clarification on an issue that has generated needless controversy."




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