Kwara govt demolishes Saraki’s house - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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Kwara govt demolishes Saraki’s house

Kwara govt demolishes Saraki’s house

There was palpable tension in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital in the early hours of Thursday as the state government made good its intention to take over an expanse of land said to have been illegally acquired by the late Dr Olusola Saraki.

The disputed plots of land had been a source disagreement between the state government and former Senate President Bukola Saraki since the former announced its resolve to revoke the land Friday last week.

The state government was said to have moved in its heavy-duty equipment and demolished some structures (otherwise referred to as Ile-Arugbo) erected on part of the disputed land by the late politician.

The demolition exercise, it gathered, was carried out at the wee hours of Thursday amidst tight security.

At about 9pm on New Year, aged women and loyalists of the Sarakis were said to mill the area when the rumours went around that government would move in its equipment.

The investigation by our reporter revealed that human and vehicular movements in and around the Ilofa road, GRA Ilorin site of the land grounded to a halt. Supporters, loyalists and sympathisers of the late the Saraki’s political dynasty thronged the arena to catch a glimpse at the incident.


Residents in the area said that the demolition was carried out at 3.50am by a bulldozer hired by the government.
It was gathered that about 50 policemen were drafted to the area to mount security and prevent the breaking down of law and order during the demolition of the structures.

An eye witness said that they started hearing the sound of the gun at about 3am to scare away elderly women who were keeping vigil on the property, adding that several teargas canisters were also fired to eject them from the land.

It was observed that a motorcycle with the inscription of All Progressives Congress (APC) and a tricycle said to have been brought by people who carried out the demolition were damaged by the irate mob who were protesting against the demolition of the structures.

Reacting to the development, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state described the action of the government as too extreme.

PDP chair in the state Hon Kola Shittu told reporters that “Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has taken it too far by demolishing the structures on Dr Olusola Saraki’s place where he used to take care of the elderly women (Ile Arugbo) every week.

“The demolition is shocking, it is unfortunate. The issue of the land was being treated as if it was a stolen land and it was not, it was allocated and there is a letter of allocation written by the government which allocated it.

“Let us even assume that it was not paid for. If this is the case, what the government should have done is to write the Saraki’s family about this and if this had been done, the Saraki’s family that I know can even donate it back to the government.

“The late Olusola Saraki donated so many plots of land to people. He donated his land for marketers at Ago market in Ilorin when the marketers were to be relocated from the market.

“The government should look at the issue again. It should not be a vendetta thing. The government should not be run along that line. We in the PDP believe the government should be about development and not vendetta, I have as chairman of the PDP, an opposition party commended the government on its programmes I considered praise-worthy.”

Shittu, however, appealed to supporters of the party and of the late Saraki to remain calm and not give room for violence over the development, saying there are many other places that Bukola Saraki can provide for them for the purpose the demolished structure served them.

Also, Speaking PDP state women leader, Alhaja Ramatalai Oganija and party’s youths leader in Kwara Central Senatorial District, Isa Mohammed described the demolition as an act induced by hatred and which is capable of causing disharmony and disruption of peace in the state.

They, however, urged their people not to take laws into their hands. The state government claimed responsibility for destroying the structure on the reclaimed land.

In a statement, Communications Commissioner, Alhaji Murtala Olanrewaju said “the 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 added that “government’s position is that the land was (and still is) a public property originally meant for the construction of government secretariat, a Civil Service Clinic, and a parking lot for the two. What the government has done is to reclaim the land in the spirit of what it was originally meant for.”
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