Ile-Arugbo Demolition: Saraki seeks out of court settlement

Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kwara
Bukola Saraki

The family of the Second Republic Senate Leader, Olusola Saraki, has sought an out-of-court-settlement with the Kwara State Government over the demolition of a property acquired by the late politician through his Asa Investment Limited.

This is coming ahead of the Friday resumed hearing on the matter, and in response to the advice offered by the presiding judge of the Kwara State High Court, Abiodun Adebara, at the last sitting.

This was disclosed in a letter written by Asa Investment Limited’s counsel, Ayodeji Ibrahim, and addressed to the Kwara State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Salman Jawondo, seeking an amicable resolution of the matter. The letter was dated January 20, 2020.

The State High Court in Ilorin on January 15 had advised all parties in the matter to explore all avenues for an out-of-court settlement in the interest of peace and justice.

The letter to the state government reads in part: “Pursuant to the advice and directive of the court on the above matter that parties should explore settlement, our client has directed us to notify you of its disposition to explore settlement with the view to resolve the outstanding dispute between parties in respect of the subject matter in contention.

“Consequently, we hereby request that you should use your good office as the chief law officer of the state to make the necessary arrangement as to time and venue where parties can meet and discuss.”

However, while confirming the letter, Yusuph Olaniyonu, the spokesperson to former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said the letter was written in context and that the lawyer was already preparing an explanation for it.

He said; “I think you may have to wait for the clarification the lawyer is providing on the matter. The letter was written in a context and the context, I think, is based on the advice of the court.”

Kwara State Government’s position

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES Thursday evening, the chief press secretary to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Rafiu Ajakaiye, said the government would make its position know as soon as possible.

“At the moment, the government is reviewing the letter and will make its position known anytime soon,” Mr. Ajakaiye said.

But a cabinet member in the state, who does not want to be named, noted that the position of the state cannot change on the matter, saying the disputed property belongs to the state and cannot be returned to any individual.

READ ALSO: Over 90 public properties unlawfully appropriated in Kwara — Governor AbdulRazaq

The source said; “Let me confide in you, this government cannot return the property to the Sarakis. It is the people’s land that was meant for a purpose and that purpose is what the government is ready to use it for.

“If the family is interested in another property, government can help them to look for and they will pay for it. But the thought that such an improperly acquired public property will be returned to the family based on sentiments should be discarded.”

The source noted that the family has not been able to tender any evidence to back its claim of ownership of the land apart from the letter of allocation which he said is not backed by a certificate of occupancy.

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