The Kwara State Government has defended the demolition of a house belonging to late Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, the state capital.
Murtala Olanrewaju, the Commissioner for Communications in Kwara, also said security officials thwarted the “attempts by some persons to provoke government’s agents on lawful duty” during the demolition.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the demolition of the property commenced in the early hours of Thursday.
According to witnesses, the building, popularly called Ile Arugbo, was demolished at about 4:00 a.m.
This came after the security operatives dispersed protesters who kept vigil to prevent the demolition.
It was gathered that the government on Wednesday around 2 a.m. tried to demolish the structure but was stopped by protesters.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the state governor, last month, announced the decision to revoke the late Olusola Saraki’s property owing to alleged illegality in its acquisition.
He said the land was originally designated for the construction of a secretariat and parking lot of the civil service clinic, but that it was unlawfully allocated to a private firm — Asa Investments Limited — without any record of payment to the state government.
However, the late Saraki’s son and former senate president, Bukola Saraki, countered the statement, saying his late father lawfully acquired the land from the state government.
He also accused the state governor of being against the legacies of his father.
The Saraki family has largely controlled Kwara politics since 1999 as the late Olusola Saraki and his son determined who became governors, lawmakers, and who held other key positions.
However, Mr Saraki of the PDP lost the 2019 elections in Kwara as the APC won the governorship and legislative seats in the state.
Mr Saraki’s younger sister, Gbemisola, is, however, a member of the APC and currently a minister in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
Dealing with Protesters
In its statement explaining the demolition, the Kwara government said it was not served with an court papers to stop the demolition.
It also said security officers exhibited the “highest level of restraint and professionalism” to disperse the protesters.
“The Kwara State Government early today began the physical reclamation of the plot of land bordering the civil service clinic in Ilorin,” Mr Olanrewaju said.
“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 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.”