The Kwara State House of Assembly has noted the editorial of the Nigerian Tribune on Wednesday 8 January 2020 over the demolition of some illegal sheds sitting on a landed property bordering the Kwara state Civil Service Clinic, originally meant for construction of Phase 2 of State Government Secretariat and parking lots of the Clinic. It wishes to state as follows:
1. That the Kwara state House of Assembly, as the legislative arm of government, is empowered to hear petitions with respect to matters of public importance as provided for in Order VII of the Rules of the Kwara state House of Assembly.
2. The 9th Kwara State House of Assembly received a petition dated 16th of August, 2019 and titled "ILLEGAL ACQUISITION, APPROPRIATION AND CONVERSION OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WITH SURVEY NO. KWG. 927 AND LAN/G 1071 SITUATED AT ILOFA ROAD, BY CIVIL SERVICE CLINIC, G.R.A, ILORIN, BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS", from one Akewushola .M. Oba. The petition was presented on the floor of the House on 20th of August, 2019, and directed to the House Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development for proper investigation.
3. On September 3rd, 2019, the report on the investigation was presented and laid before the Honourable House, which was unanimously adopted accordingly, having been convinced that the investigation complied with the principle of due diligence, thoroughness, objectivity, and fairness.
4. The resolutions of the House included urging the Governor to declare void the allocation of the property with SURVEY NO. KWG. 927 AND LAN/G 1071 SITUATE AT ILOFA ROAD, BY CIVIL SERVICE CLINIC, G.R.A, ILORIN, (on which Ile Arugbo stands) to ASA INVESTMENT for non-compliance with due process and to also recover the said land immediately from ASA INVESTMENT in the overall public interest, so that it can be used for the purpose for which it was originally meant.
5. By facts and available documents, the said property was not duly allocated to any person, corporate or individual. The only letter available to that effect was a notification letter, communicating approval of use of the said land to one ASA INVESTMENT, ILOFA ROAD, a company with no registration number nor contact address in any government records. There was no application letter whatsoever and we wondered, like every reasonable people should, how there could be an acceptance/approval without offer/request. Again, despite the faulty foundation upon which the approval was based, there was no document to the effect that the conditions for eventual issuance of Right of Occupancy on the land were met. Consequently, the House passed a resolution urging the Executive Governor of Kwara state to reclaim the property.
6. On October 4th, 2019, the Kwara State House of Assembly published in three(3) reputable national dailies — Daily Trust, The Nation, and Punch Newspapers — reasons why it ordered the revocation of the said property and another, Alimi Chalet, which was also illegally acquired by the former Senate President. In the publication, we called on any interested party in the properties to come forward with contradicting document(s) to challenge the facts of the report. Four months down the line, no one showed interest in or challenged the resolutions of the House of Assembly over the properties.
7. Contrary to the insinuation of the Nigerian Tribune in its editorial, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq never at any time requested an approval for revocation of the so called "Ile arugbo" or any other property in the State. Rather, the revocation is a product of the investigations of a petition received by the Kwara state House of Assembly, which in turn was satisfied that the land was illegally acquired.
8. We hereby request the Nigerian Tribune to refer us and the general public to the documents confirming that a legal proceeding was on over the periods the property was investigated and when the House resolved on it. We note that the position of the Nigerian Tribune was inconsistent with truth and facts of the matter. A newspaper of its standing ought to be well guided with facts before it takes a position on an issue as delicate as individuals abusing their powers and converting public properties to private use. This House maintains that there was no pending legal matter regarding the property before, during and even four months after the conclusion of the investigations and resolution.
9. We wish to state that the editorial position of the Nigerian Tribune Newspaper over demolition of "Ile-Arugbo" is subjective, bias and injurious to public clamour for probity. What the Tribune did was to stand with impunity and selfish interest at the detriment of the truth. As lawmakers, the 9th Kwara state House of Assembly acted within its power and it is only noble for a prominent news medium as Tribune to objectively support and encourage our strides to right the wrongs of our ugly past and not under any guise abate illegality and sense of entitlement.
10. So far, the House has intervened in a number of issues involving misappropriation of public assets. These include but are not limited to the Alimi Chalet, which was also acquired illegally by former Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Tourist Kitchen (now Bubbles); and Ile arugbo. Being the Assembly of the representatives of the people of Kwara State, the 9th House is committed only to the good of the state.
11. The House shall continue to represent the best interest of our people, regardless of whose ox is gored. It shall be firm in frontally and objectively addressing public concerns diligently. It is committed to righting the wrongs of the past and ensuring that all Kwarans get value for our common patrimony.
Hon. Awolola Olumide Ayokunle
Chairman, KWHA Committee on Information, Youth, Sports, Culture and Tourism