Kwara Govt: Saraki Has No Legal Right to Disputed Ilorin Land

AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq

•Official says CAC shows Asa Investments does not belong to Saraki family, two owners dead

Tobi Soniyi

The family of Second Republic Senate Leader, late Dr Olusola Saraki, has no legal right to the piece of land opposite his house in Ilorin, where he built his Ile Arugbo (old peoples home), so says a top official of the Kwara State government. The official, who preferred anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, agreed that the land was offered to Asa Investments Limited, a company often associated with the late politician.

“However,” he claimed, “Asa Investment does not have a right of occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy. It does not have any document to show that it owns the land.
“Moreover, the two shareholders of Asa Investments Limited are dead. Therefore, the company has no legal standing.
“Saraki is not the owner/shareholder of the company (Asa Investments) that the offer of land was made to.

“Under Nigerian laws, a limited liability company must have two shareholders. If either one or both are dead or extinct, the company ceases to exist.”
A status report on the company issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission, dated January 10, 2020 shows that Alhaja Bodurin Alaro and Alhaji Alabi Agoro are the shareholders of Asa Investments Limited.

The Kwara State government recently reclaimed the piece of land amid controversy, while the building on it, known as Ile arugbo (old peoples home), was demolished.
The position of the government official is in tandem with the report of the committee on the review of sales of Kwara government property from 1999 to date. The committee had declared that there was no proof of payment or tight of occupancy on the expanse of land in issue.

Chairman of the committee, Sen. Makanjuola Ajadi, said in a statement, “The attention of the Committee on the Review of Sales of Kwara State Government Properties from 1999 to Date has been drawn to the various publications on the decision of government in respect of the land earmarked for the construction of the State Secretariat (now commonly referred to as Ile Arugbo).

“The issue of the land in question came under the terms of reference of the 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, the committee’s recommendations are based strictly on available records.

“Based on the available records, the committee did not see proof of any payment nor an approved Right of Occupancy.”
He said the committee discovered there was a foundation on the land with erected columns at varying areas of the larger segment of the land.

According to him, “The committee also noted that the land in question was also a part of a larger parcel of land, part of which has been developed into a Civil Service Clinic and Secretariat complex now housing the State Ministry of Finance, among others.

“With emphasis, from all records available, there is no Right of Occupancy or Certificate of Occupancy available to the private firm which the land was allocated in principle.
“There is also no application nor receipt of payments for the land. Where, therefore, is the right to a claim to this land?”
He added that based on existing convention, land set aside by government for specific public use should not be converted to private use

“In view of the above reasons, the committee is convinced to recommend that the land be repossessed and put to the original use it was meant for,” the chairman said.
Ajadi noted that the use of “Ile arugbo” to describe the land in question gave an erroneous impression of a structured building where old people were catered for, adding, “This is not so”.

He stressed, “What is on ground until the physical reclamation by government was a shed used by the late Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki to keep people waiting to see him for political meetings.
“In essence, the house built and lived by the late Dr Olusola Saraki is intact, not touched or demolished by the Kwara State Government.”