The Kwara State Government on Friday said it will support owners of private schools in the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, the state government promised to provide interest-free loans to private schools.
This is to enable the proprietors to “pay their workers and prevent massive job losses in the sub-sector.”
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq said he would “not be blind to the plight” of any resident of the state, including “proprietors and workers across private schools in the state who he acknowledged have been the hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of schools and some other businesses.”
The governor who had a virtual meeting today with the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), said his administration will need to have the right database to know the number of private schools in the state, the number of their teachers, and their students.
According to the governor, the database would be key for efficiency, transparency, and success of the move.
He added that his administration had established a hitch-free and transparent bursary regime with digital registration and verification of all applicants last year.
“The issue of the database is critical for planning. We want to know how many private schools we have (and) where in the state. If we do so, we can even give land (to those who may need it), issue a certificate of occupancy and other relevant documents,” he said.
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct an independent probe into funds so far received and disbursed to the 16 Local Government Areas from May 2019 till date.
The governor also set up a panel of inquiry comprising members from various backgrounds will also be set up to look into the Local Governments’ funds.
This was confirmed in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye.
“For the sake of accountability and transparency, the Governor is hereby calling in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct an urgent probe into funds so far received as allocations and spent by the 16 local government between May 29 and now.
“Separately, the Governor will also be setting up a Panel of inquiry in the immediate to look into the same issues. Members of the panel and its terms of reference would be announced soon,” the statement read.
Ajakaye said the administration was of the view that council funds should be probed and laid to rest because governance was about public trust.
He noted that the investigation is necessary following “outrageous claims by some persons that money to the tune of N300 million was diverted monthly from LG accounts.”
“The governor restated that he would not be found mismanaging or siphoning public funds. He maintains his stand, which dates back to his days in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), that the local governments should be allowed to manage their own funds with minimal or no supervision by the state as the law may allow.
“He insists that any official found to have diverted or mismanaged public funds under him would be made to account for the same as prescribed under the law,” Ajakaye added.
The immediate past President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, has rejected a recent move by the administration of the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, over a piece of land said to be owned by his late father, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki.
In a statement personally signed by him on Saturday, Saraki condemned the government’s withdrawal of the ownership of the land allocated to late Olusola Saraki, a Senate Leader in the Second Republic.
He also accused Governor Abdulrazaq of crossing the line of decency with his alleged effort to erase the legacies of his late father.
The former Senate President issued the statement a day after the government reverted to itself, the ownership of the land bordering the Civil Service Clinic in Ilorin, the state capital.
A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, on Friday said a new secretariat complex would be erected on the land in 2020.
The statement added that no certificate of occupancy was ever issued in favour of the firm as the government had bought the land to house the civil service clinic, its parking space, and a secretariat.
It noted that Governor Abdulrazaq has signed a constitutional instrument withdrawing the allocation of the land, saying the action followed a resolution of the State House of Assembly.
In his reaction, Saraki accused the governor of waging a war of attrition waged against the legacy of his father and everything that belongs to the late politician.
He said, “Yesterday (Friday) night, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq finally showed his true colour when he announced his decision to revoke the ownership of a property rightfully held by my late father, Dr Olusola Abubakar Saraki on Plots 1, 3 and 5 Ilofa Road, GRA, Ilorin popularly known as Ile Arugbo, (Old People’s home).
“The property, since the Second Republic, has always been used to host the weekly gathering of a multitude of aged people in the society who are provided food, money and health services, as part of the social welfare programme sponsored by the late politician. The tradition has since been maintained.”
“Before now, this same Governor had invited all the members of the State House of Assembly and directed them to commence the process of amending the law to change the name of the State University which the last administration renamed after my late father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki,” the former Senate President added.
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:
The construction of Kwara State Secretariat; parking space for civil service clinic and the Kwara State Secretariat and annex to the Civil Service when upgraded to a hospital.
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.
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has presented N112million recovered from treasury looters to the Kwara state governor, Mr Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.
At the presentation, the Head of the Ilorin office, Isyaku Sharu said the Zone which started its operations in February has achieved a lot in terms of assets recovery and conviction of corrupt individuals.
“We have 29 convictions and over N500million (five hundred million naira) recovery for both assets and cash; part of this recovery is the N111, 428, 891.00 cash recovered for the Kwara state government.
“This recovery is from suspected Kwara state treasury looters. The suspects allegedly misappropriated landed properties of Harmony Holdings while others diverted funds meant for micro small and medium enterprises credit scheme. The suspects cut across political office holders, traditional rulers and top civil servants,” he said.
Mr Sharu hinted that he was mandated by the acting chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu to present a draft for the recovered fund, while assuring of the agency’s steadfastness in ridding the state of all acts of corruption and other economic crimes.
Governor Abdulrazaq, in his response, thanked the EFCC and disclosed that the cash will be used for the social investment programme in the state to lift poor people out of poverty.
“We are overwhelmed because history is being made in Kwara state with the return of our monies recovered by the EFCC especially now that there are many projects to embark on.
“As we promised to replicate the federal government social investment programmes, this cash would be used for that programme and we will make our people realise that the seed money for social investment programme, before we came into power, was also recovered.
“We would let our people know that it is the money realised by the EFCC we are giving them so that they can pay back when they get the loan. It will help to lift thousands of people out of poverty,” he said.
A High Court sitting in Ilorin on Wednesday dismissed the certificate forgery case filed against Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, following the claimant’s application to withdraw the case.
Judge Adenike Akinpelu, struck out the case after Adekunle Olufemi, who filed the case, told the court he had presented a notice of withdrawal of the case.
Olufemi told the court that he is withdrawing the case for his personal security.
Justice Akinpelu then dismissed the case since the claimant said he was no more interested in the case.
The counsel to the governor, Salman Jawondo, however, asked for the cost of N1million against the petitioner which the judge ruled against.
Akinpelu held that the withdrawal means that, the efforts of one Olusola Olaseinde who wanted to join the suit were inconsequential since the original case has been withdrawn.
Olufemi had earlier dragged Abdulrazaq to court alleging that the West African Senior School Certificate he presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the Kwara governorship election was forged.
The Governor-elect of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, has denied claims that he forwarded a fake WAEC certificate to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the recently conducted governorship election in the state.
Defending Abdulrazaq at the State High Court sitting in Ilorin on Tuesday, his lawyer, Mr Lawal Jimoh, explained that the governor-elect graduated from Government College, Kaduna in June 1976, hence, the claims of possessing a fake document were false.
“My client attended Government College, Kaduna. And of course, he wrote his WAEC in 1976. The records are there, they are clear,” he stated.
A member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Apado ward, in the Ilorin East local government area of the state, Adekunle Abraham, had challenged the authenticity of Abdulrazaq’s WAEC certificate.
Specifically, Abraham pointed out that the way the defendant’s name was written as “RASAQ A R” had raised some suspicious.
“From my personal experience, the West African Examination Council( WAEC) as a standard examination body in West Africa do not normally abbreviate names on the school certificates issued by it,” he said.
Furthermore, he said he knew for a fact the the defendant did not sit for the exams and was, therefore, not issued with the purported certificate.
He, therefore, urged the court to declare that the APC candidate lied on oath and submitted forged documents to contest the gubernatorial elections.
Speaking with journalists after the court session, the claimant’s lawyer, Lawrence Ola, said the defendant’ lawyer was yet to file a defence but only filed a Memorandum of Appearance for his client.
“The defendant posted an affidavit that he got a WAEC certificate detailed 1976. And based on the findings of my client, we see that it is a cock and bull story. As a matter of fact, it is perjury,” he said.
But also speaking, the defendant’s lawyer who said that his client was served notice of the suit on May 2, 2019, added that appearance was filed immediately.
He also maintained that his client, got his WAEC result from Government College, Kaduna with full evidence of WAEC result obtained from the school in 1976.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Adenike Akinpelu adjourned the case to June 10, saying the defence was still within the time frame to file their statements.