Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Kwara State Government yesterday acquired a large piece of land in Ilorin belonging to late Senator Olusola Saraki, father of the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on which it now plans to build a new secretariat complex, next year.
Chief Press Secretary to the Kwara State Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, said in a statement yesterday: “Ownership of the land bordering the Civil Service Clinic in Ilorin has officially reverted to Kwara State Government.”
Ajakaye said the land was originally meant for Government Secretariat and parking space for the Civil Service Clinic but that “it was unlawfully allocated to a private firm, Asa Investments Limited,” believed to be owned by the late Olusola Saraki.
The statement said there was no record of the firm’s payment for the land to the state government, and that no certificate of occupancy was ever issued in favour of the firm.
It said the government itself had bought the land to house the civil service clinic, its parking space, and a secretariat, the statement said, adding that “the government has now made provisions for the secretariat in the 2020 budget, although its construction will spill over to 2021.”
According to the statement, “Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has signed a constitutional instrument withdrawing the allocation of plots of land 1, 3 and 5 to the firm, asserting that the said land was unlawfully appropriated contrary to the purpose for which it was meant.
“The Governor’s decision followed a resolution of the State House of Assembly urging him to reclaim the land because it was arbitrarily taken over in the 1990s without any evidence of payment by the Asa Investment Limited, even though the land was meant for public use.”
The revocation order read: “In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 5 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) 1999 and Section 1 and 28 of the Land Use Act Cap. L.5 of 2004 and all other powers enabling me in that behalf, I, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Governor of Kwara State of Nigeria, give the following notice:
“The Notice may be cited as the Land Use (Revocation of Right of Occupancy and withdrawal of allocation) Notice 2019.
“Allocation of plots of land 1, 3 and 5 TPS/MISC 129 to Asa Investment (Nig) Ltd. which is meant for the Kwara State Secretariat. The land, specifically and more described in survey No. KwSH 927 and Land/G1071 situated and lying beside Civil Service Clinic along Ilofa Road Ilorin, Kwara State, is hereby revoked and withdrawn for overriding public interest for use of the purpose it is originally meant for:
“That the plots allocated are hereby declared void. Notice is therefore given to you, Asa Investments Nigeria Limited, that the plots of land 1,3 and 5 TPS/MISC 129 allocated to you and any title on the land whatsoever are hereby revoked and the allocation is withdrawn for overriding public interest.
“Hundreds of civil servants still operate from rented apartments at a huge cost to the government. The new secretariat, once completed in 2021, will definitely go a long way to end this unhealthy trend, as well as provide a more conducive and decent working environment for government workers.”