A Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has fixed February 5 to take arguments on the objections raised by a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the permanent forfeiture of some of his houses in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
In a preliminary objection put before Justice Rilwan Aikawa, the two-term Kwara State Governor, through his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju (SAN), filed a preliminary objection, challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
They also described the new suit by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as an abuse of court processes because it was filed at a time when a suit on the same subject matter was still pending at the Federal High Court in Abuja before Justice Taiwo Taiwo.
The EFCC had, in the suit filed before Justice Aikawa, claimed that the houses – Plots No. 10 and No. 11 Abdulkadir Road, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State – were acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities allegedly perpetrated by Saraki while he was Kwara State Governor between 2003 and 2011.
Justice Aikawa had on December 2, 2019, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the houses to the Federal Government.
The judge then adjourned for Saraki to appear before him to give reasons why the houses should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.
In his preliminary objection filed before the court, Saraki described the suit as an abuse of court processes and a move to scandalise him.
He also said the suit is a ploy by the EFCC to review the July 6, 2018 decision of the Supreme Court “discharging the applicant from culpability arising from the same money and houses which are the subject matter of this action,” asking Justice Aikawa to dismiss the suit.
The court will hear arguments for and against the suit on February 5, 2020.
The EFCC, in the suit, told the court that it received “a damning intelligence report, showing monumental fraud perpetrated in the treasury of the Kwara State Government between 2003 and 2011,” when Saraki was governor of the state.
An operative of the EFCC, Olamide Sadiq said, “Whilst investigation was ongoing several fraudulent transactions were discovered.
“I know for a fact and verily believe that our investigation has revealed the following mind-boggling findings, among others:
“That between 2003 and 2011, Dr Olubukola Abubakar Saraki was the Executive Governor of Kwara State.
“That whilst he held the aforementioned position, the common pattern was that after payment of monthly allocation by the Federal Government to the Kwara State Government, a cumulative sum of not less than N100m will be deposited into the Kwara Government House account.
“That upon the payment of the said N100 million, same will, in turn, be withdrawn in cash by one Mr Afeez Yusuf from the Kwara State Government House, Ilorin’s account in bits and brought to the Government House.”
Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, has condemned the demolition of the Ile-Arugbo building in Ilorin by the Kwara State Government.
The building is owned by the Saraki family but the APC-led state government, in December, said it had been illegally acquired.
Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki had refuted the government’s claim.
“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 (Olusola Saraki),” Saraki, a member of the PDP, said in late December. “The tradition has since been maintained.”
But that didn’t stop the demolition which took place on Thursday, a day after the new year.
In a statement released on Friday, Gbemisola Saraki, a member of the APC, the ruling party in Kwara, and member of the Saraki family, condemned the action.
“At 3:00 am Thursday 2nd of January 2020, the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq, gave orders to the Police to open fire on aged women, at the contested welfare home, popularly known as “lle Arugbo” (Home for Aged), owned by my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki,” she said in her statement.
“As a staunch and loyal member of APC, I have kept quiet to date on the happenings in my state, Kwara State. I had done this for a number of reasons including trying to ‘keep my head when all about me are losing theirs’. But all in all, I had kept quiet, as being a loyal member and supporter of the party, I did not want to get into any squabble with the Governor despite so many provocations.
“Again, as a loyal and dedicated daughter of my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, whom I hold in very high esteem, I did not want to express my opinion on the propriety of the Governor’s recent political actions as it would be seen as biased because the late Waziri is my father.
“However, given the turn of events and the violent nature of the Governor’s position, it is only right for me to speak now.
“There might have been some elements within my party, APC, who wanted to change the OTOGe narrative of the 2019 elections to be about the Sarakis, and not about what it was – the removal of a failing PDP Administration.
“But clearly by some recent steps taken, especially with Thursday’s actions, Kwara State APC must be careful to not allow a few elements with their own agenda, other than governance, to turn their personal vendetta into the official position of APC in the State. They must not be allowed to hijack the narrative of what our party stands for.
“The APC has, since its inception, preached and worked earnestly for genuine good governance, security, increased welfare, progress and development of the people, as exemplified by President Muhammadu Buhari, who in the face of direct provocation and deep personal attacks remains true to the oath he took to govern ALL Nigerians, in spite of allegiances.
“That is why it is important that my silence is not misconstrued as tacit approval or support for the actions taken by the Governor.
“As stated earlier, I chose to refrain from commenting on the onset of this land saga and did so for three reasons: (1) I believed that this was a matter that would go through the rightful forum and due process to ascertain and establish my father’s legal rights or otherwise. (2) My family individually and/or collectively have NEVER derived and continue not to derive ANY commercial benefit from that piece of land. At the end of the day, what is on that land is nothing – no block of flats that the family is getting rent from; no office building, no factory, or any other commercial venture. Just a bungalow where the old women gather and get their basic needs attended to. (3) Nonetheless, were my father alive today, surely, he would have been saddened to see bulldozers in Ile Arugbo.
“However, I am comforted by the knowledge that my father’s good work and his respect, support and love for the aged, which was sadly lacking in the Governor’s activities of Thursday, simply cannot be erased by demolishing a bungalow. When it comes down to it, lle Arugbo is a piece of bare land that holds symbolic value of what my father stood for-humanitarianism, and that doesn’t start nor end with a building.
“But after the events of Thursday when the aged women were tear gassed and shot at in the wee hours of the morning (3:00AM), I do not want my silence to be misconstrued, as mischief makers have used that silence to attribute false statements allegedly made by me.
“The level of force and violence that the Governor chose to adopt was totally unwarranted. What resistance to protest justifies firing live ammunition and tear gassing old women? Even my own personal home was not left out of the attack as numerous empty bullet shell casings and dispersed tear gas cannisters were found inside my home.
“I feel that at this point not only as a child of the late Waziri but as a member of the APC, I need to speak. I do so not only as a daughter but as a member of the party, to ensure that those thousands of members of APC who are Sarakites that supported the OToGe Movement are not alienated. In addition, I do so to ensure that the resounding victory that APC enjoyed in Kwara is not short-lived or diminished.
“Governments acquire properties, even compulsorily without necessarily resorting to unprovoked violent attacks in the dead of night. It is especially disrespectful to me personally, as a member of the APC since 2015, who welcomed and supported those who only joined us a couple of months to the elections, which includes the Governor himself, that my position as a member of the party was not given any consideration and/or regard when approaching this issue.
“Furthermore, given how well and how long I have personally known the Governor beyond Kwara State, so much so that I have always regarded him as one of my older brothers. Even in the political arena, over the years, we have known each other as political opponents and allies and I have always accorded him respect which he has not accorded me.
“As one of the APC leaders in the State, I have consulted broadly and have also sent messages appealing to party members not to be provoked by this unwarranted assault on my late father. I do this with all sense of responsibility so that party cohesion and unity is not undermined by arbitrariness to rush into an attempt to settle perceived old generational family political scores. Revenge cannot be a policy thrust of governance.
“I am also using this opportunity to appeal to our teeming supporters to remain calm and poised and maintain peace in the face of unwarranted provocation. “Allah Bring about ease after difficulty” Q65 vrs 7.
“I condemn in totality the actions taken on Thursday 2nd January 2020 by Governor Abdul Rahman AbdulRasaq, especially unleashing terror and mayhem on innocent defenseless aged women simply exercising their right to peacefully protest.
“I call upon the Inspector General of Police to call the State Commissioner of Police to order – using security agencies and live ammunition to settle political and personal scores is NOT what the Buhari Administration is about.
“We must stand up against vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity.”
Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen have kidnapped three indigenes of Obbo-Aiyegunle in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The incident occurred on New Year’s Eve along the Osi-Obbo-Aiyegunle Road in the state.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Kwara, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, could not confirm the incident but promised to provide details of the incident later.
Those kidnapped include a lady and two men, while the fourth in the same vehicle with them escaped with serious injuries.
The kidnappers were said to have demanded a ransom of N50 million from the families before they would release the victims.
A former chairman of the Ekiti Local Government and an indigene of the town, Ezekiel Gbadeyan, told Channels Television that the victims were travelling to their hometown for the New Year celebration before the incident.
He decried that kidnapping has been a recurrent event in the area due to the deplorable state of the road linking Osi and Obbo-Aiyegunle.
“That incident was the fourth in the last few weeks, but local hunters have always been rising up to the occasion of preventing innocent souls from been kidnapped,” Gbadeyan said.
Former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has commended supporters of his family for showing support and displayed affection during the demolition of his family home popularly called ‘Ile Arugbo’ by the Kwara State government.
The building was demolished in the early hours of Thursday morning after police dispersed protesters, including old women.
Dr Saraki, while reacting said the actions of the protesters showed that they were not intimidated by the presence of security and government officials who perfected the orders of the state government.
“Following development this morning in Ile Arugbo, I want to commend the women, men, old and young, who displayed their affection, love and staunch support for my late father and the family.
“I appreciate the genuine support of the women and youths who stood firmly in the face of aggression and naked show of force.”
The former senate president said that the actions by the protesters have shown a gesture of goodwill and passionate love, hoping that justice shall prevail soon.
“Your action throughout the night gave full expression to my belief that what Ile Arugbo represents to all of us is etched in our hearts. It goes beyond the physical structure. I am happy that you were not intimidated as you stood your ground.
“This day will go down as the day you reciprocated the love and affection my father and family have for you. You have displayed a gesture of goodwill and passionate love. We assure you that justice shall prevail in a not too distant future. May God bless us all.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the demolition of a property belonging to the family of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the Kwara state government.
The PDP described the invasion and demolition as wicked, cowardly and a direct recipe for a huge crisis in the state.
The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that the action of the state government is borne out of hatred and political intolerance.
“The party holds that it is clear that the action of the state government is borne out of hatred and political intolerance, in furtherance of the larger plot by the APC and its administration to intimidate, suppress, hound, crush and silence opposition and dissenting voices in our country, in the bid to foist a siege mentality on the citizenry.
“The PDP dismisses the reasons being spewed by the APC administration for this New Year dastardly act as baseless, false and incongruous, as they fail to add up, to justify the ferocious invasion, harassment of citizens and demolition of the said property.”
It added that the early morning demolition exercise shows that the state government carried out an unwholesome operation.
“The timing of the invasion and demolition, in the wee hours and under the cover of darkness, is a direct indication that the state government was carrying out an unwholesome and condemnable operation during which defenseless women were fired with gunshots.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note that demolition of property, genuinely belonging to opposition leaders and other Nigerians perceived to be opposed to APC’s oppressive administration, has become a policy of the APC and its government in their bid to subjugate Nigerians and exclusively appropriate our common patrimony for their selfish purposes.
“Our party, therefore, stands with Senator Saraki and cautions the Kwara state government to henceforth steer clear of the property.”
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.
A member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Ahmed Rufai, is dead.
The Speaker of the House, Salihu Danladi, announced this in a statement on Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Media, Ibrahim Sheriff.
Until his death, Rufai was the lawmaker representing Patigi Constituency at the 9th Kwara State House of Assembly.
He died at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital in the early hour of Tuesday.
Mourning the lawmaker, the Speaker said, “it is with a heavy heart and total submission to the will of Almighty Allah that we announce the death of our colleague, Honourable Ahmed Saidu Rufai representing Patigi constituency.”
“This is an unexpected situation that caught us in a rude shock but unfortunately, the Almighty deprived us of the power to reverse such sad occurrence,” he added.
Danladi also prayed that God grants late Rufai rest as well as his family and friends the fortitude to bear the loss.
“As we struggle to live with this tragic development and the vacuum that comes with it, we pray that Allah in His infinite mercy forgive his shortcomings and give his family, the 9th Assembly, Patigi Emirate, friends and associate and Kwara state at large, the fortitude to bear this great loss,” he said.
The statement noted that Rufai would be buried according to Muslim rite later on Tuesday at his country home in Patigi.
The immediate past Chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, Professor Muritala Awodu, and a former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Moshood Bakare, are being interrogated.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed this in a series of tweets on Friday.
It explained that both men were questioned by its Ilorin Zonal Office operatives along with some staff of the agency over an allegation of fraud to the tune of N5 billion belonging to the revenue service.
The anti-graft agency said it has uncovered how 24 former members of the Assembly, and the immediate past Commissioner for Finance in the state, as well as some companies allegedly shared the money between 2015 and 2019.
The tweets came three weeks after the EFCC invited 16 Local Government chairmen in Kwara for allegedly misappropriating part of a N4 billion loan and 10 per cent of the Internally Generated Revenue.
According to it, the chairmen held a meeting after securing the controversial loan and decided that N100 million be shared among themselves.
They were, however, released on November 2, a day after they arrived at the EFCC office in the Kwara State capital.
Read the tweets below:
Alleged N5 billion Fraud: Prof, Honourable Narrate Sharing Formula
The Ilorin Zonal Office of the EFCC has uncovered how the twenty four (24) ex lawmakers of the Kwara State House of Assembly, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance, Ademola Banu… pic.twitter.com/C6ahFVMbQM
The immediate past Chairman of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, Professor Muritala Awodu, a former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Moshood Bakare and some staff of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service are presently being interrogated.
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has nominated 26-year-old Joana Nnazua Kolo, who is still having her National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) as a commissioner in the state.
She hails from Edu Local Government Area of the state and is serving at a Model Boarding Junior Secondary School in Guri, Jigawa State.
Miss Kolo, the youngest commissioner-nominee in the state’s history, is a 2018 graduate of Library Science from the Kwara State University (KWASU). A grassroots mobiliser, Miss Kolo is an ardent advocate of community development.
If confirmed, she would be Nigeria’s youngest commissioner, taking the trophy from Oyo State’s 27-year-old Oluwaseun Fakorede.
The governor also nominated a former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FBN Mortgages Limited, a subsidiary of the First Bank, Mrs. Folashade Omoniyi, as the new Chairperson of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS). She would succeed Prof Murtala Awodun whose tenure expires soon.
Omoniyi, who holds a bachelor of engineering from the University of Ilorin and Masters of Business Administration from Obafemi Awolowo University, has many years of leadership experience in the banking sector, marketing, information communication technology, and business management.
She has executive education in positive leadership from Michigan Ross Executive Education (USA); Market Driving Strategies from London Business School (UK); Strategic Uses of Information Technology from Stanford Business School ( USA); and Senior Management Programme (SMP18) from the Lagos Business School (Nigeria).
Omoniyi is from Irepodun local government area of the state.
The three other nominees are professionals and grassroots politicians: Mrs Sa’adatu Modibbo-Kawu; Arinola Fatimoh Lawal; and Aisha Ahman Pategi, according to a correspondence AbdulRazaq forwarded to the House and read at the Tuesday plenary by the Speaker, Rt. Honourable Salihu Yakubu Danladi.
A 1997 graduate of Economics from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Mrs Modibbo-Kawu also holds Masters in Business Administration from University of Ilorin and various certificates from Penn Foster Career School Scranton in the United States and Metropolitan School of Business and Management in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A member of several professional bodies like the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria and Nigeria Institute of Management, she is a co-founder of a number of schools and learning centres.
She is married to the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu and would be representing Ilorin South in the cabinet if her nomination scales through the House of Assembly.
Arinola Fatimoh Lawal, a 1993 graduate of Catering and Hotel Management from the Kwara State Polytechnic, is a top-rated player in Nigeria’s hospitality industry with experience as chief executive officers of several firms including Batool Nigeria Limited, Mohbalamira Nigeria Limited and MirMira Enterprise.
Hajia Lawal, who was a member of the Kwara State Transition Committee in 2019, is a daughter of former Kwara State Governor Mohammed Lawal from Ilorin East local government. Her skills cover project management, tourism and hospitality, change management, and Risk Management. A grassroots mobiliser with effective leadership skills and emotional intelligence, the nominee is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State.
A scion of one of Kwara’s oldest political families, nominee Aisha Ahman-Pategi is a professional business manager with over 20 years experience in communication strategy, investment/financial consulting, and marketing and motivational leadership. She is a serial entrepreneur known for a contagious passion for excellence and innovation with great resource skills in research, government and relations.
Ms Ahman-Pategi was educated at the School of Remedial Studies and FASS-International Relations in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State in 1996; Agent and Broker License Barney Fletcher School, in Atlanta GA, USA in 2004; Capstone Institute of Mortgage Finance, also in Atlanta in 2006; Stanford University, Stanford California where she obtained a certificate in Political Science (Data Analysis) in 2013; Bachelor of Art – Mass Communication from Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma; and MBA Business Administration from American Inter-Continental University, Dunwoody GA.
Aisha was Sales Manager for J&S Auto Sales Decatur, GA 30082 before founding A-Line Realty SMYRNA, GA 30082 in 2004 as the President and Managing Broker. The agency serves more than 300 clients by providing financial planning, assets management, commercial and residential estate transactions.
Between 2005 and 2007, she joined Continental Mortgage/World Financial Services Inc., Atlanta, GA 30324 as Financial Advisor/Mortgage consultant where she assisted clients with their needs via financial need analysis.
Aisha, a former Senior Special Assistant to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Strategy and Communication, has also worked for the non-profit Project Coach Foundation since 2018 as executive director.
The non-profit organisation serves the most vulnerable communities in Nigeria through Community Outreach, Advocacy, Capacity building and Health (COACH) projects.
This affected the athletes who usually go to the stadium for training as they were also denied entry.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Ajayi Okasanmi, the need to forestall any breakdown of law and order informs the heavy security presence as the call for revolution is against the law.
An immediate past member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Muhammed Adebayo, has been arraigned at the State High Court.
The Ilorin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought Adebayo before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye on Thursday on six counts bordering on land fraud.
According to a statement from the anti-graft agencies, Count Two of the charges read: “That you, Mohammed Adebayo, sometimes in July 2013 in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N950,000 (Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only from one Mary Omowunmi Kolade on the false pretence that three plots of land (situated at Molete, Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State) which you sold to her belonged to you, a representation you knew to be false punishable under section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences.”