BY SEGUN ADEBAYO – The Kwara State Government says the decision revoking the Ilofa Road, Government Reserved Area (GRA), Ilorin land belonging to the late strong man of Kwara politics, Dr Olusola Saraki is in the State’s interest and overall good of the people.
Defending its action on the Ilorin plots, alleged to have been acquired illegally by the late Saraki, the state government said; “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.”
Director General of the Bureau of Lands, Ibrahim Salman disclosed this while giving further details surrounding the Civil Service Clinic land and its adjourning plots in Ilorin, the state capital, amid public enquiry.
“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,” Salman said
In a statement released in Ilorin, the Bureau boss said; “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.”
Offering additional information, the statement said; “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.”
The Statement further explained that; “Following a resolution of the Kwara State House of Assembly mandating him to revoke/withdraw the spurious allocation, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq recently signed an instrument to reclaim the land on the ground that same was unlawfully allocated to a private Company contrary to the public purpose of its acquisition and occupied in breach of the terms of allocation.”
Acknowledging that the government action sparked off controversy along different political divide in the State, Salman said; “This (press) release is intended to state the facts on the land recently revoked/withdrawn by the state government as contained in our records.”