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Sarakis’ lawyers dilly dally over ‘Ile Arugbo’ negotiation as legal matters arise

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The law firm representing the family of Olusola Saraki, second republic senate leader, over the “Ile Arugbo” dispute has written the Kwara state government to postpone a negotiation meeting between the two parties.

The government had demolished “Ile Arugbo”, the political home of the Sarakis in Ilorin, following the revocation of the land which the government said was illegally allocated to Asa Investments Limited, a private firm.

The Sarakis had taken legal action against the government, but later sought to settle the matter out of court. 

Both parties were to meet on January 27, but the lawyers again wrote the government to give them more time as they were yet to reach their clients. 

“Since the receipt of your letter referred above on 24th day of January, 2020 in the open court, we are unable to reach our clients for briefings,” the letter read.

“In view of the above, we urge a postponement of the meeting till 6th of February, 2020 or thereafter but not before 6th February, 2020.” 

One of the lawyers who spoke with TheCable said the government had agreed to the postponement and efforts are ongoing to “reach” their clients before the rescheduled date. 

The lawyer also denied rumours that the Sarakis are settling out of court because they found out the land was illegally acquired. 

“It is not correct to say we are begging the government. We are doing that on the advice of the court,” he said. 

“And we are not begging them. If we sit and we are unable to make headway, we go back to court and start hearing. We are ready for the case. The court said we should reach a settlement and we are trying it, but if they give us unnecessary terms, we return to court.” 

But a source said the Sarakis are deliberately delaying the meeting because they do not have a good case to present.

The source said Saraki’s name is not in the company registration documents of Asa Investment Limited, the allottee.

The company has not filed annual returns at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for 10 years. It has also not made tax returns.

In a report, THISDAY quoted a top official of Kwara government as saying the two shareholders of Asa Investments Limited are dead.

According to the newspaper, a status report on the company issued by the CAC identified Bodurin Alaro and Alabi Agoro as the shareholders of Asa Investments Limited.

“Saraki is not the owner/shareholder of the company (Asa Investments) that the offer of land was made to,” the official who did not want to be named, was quoted to have said.

“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.”

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Kwara Matters

We are in government to serve Kwarans — AbdulRazaq

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration is determined to right the wrongs of the past, invest in human capital and physical infrastructural development, and improve the living standards of the people.

“We are in government to serve our people. We have made commitments and we will not disappoint. We were here a year ago to campaign for you and you supported us. Let’s do it again this Saturday by voting Adam Ahmed Rufai of the APC during the by-election,” AbdulRazaq said as he wrapped the campaign for the ruling party in Patigi where a House of Assembly by-election is holding this Saturday.

“We come with a solid team headed by myself, the speaker, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, former Speaker Benjamin Isa and other key stakeholders in the party. So, I can assure you that Adam Ahmed Rufai is in good company and will be supported in the Assembly.”

Accompanied by top government officials and party chieftains, AbdulRazaq had on Monday flagged off a marathon campaign tour that touched all the affected 10 wards of Patigi where he pointed out his various developmental strides in the local government and elsewhere in the state since his inauguration last year.

He pledged that the government would give the necessary support to farmers by providing farm implements, chemicals and funds to improve yields to guarantee food security. 

“We are aware that some communities do harvest three times in a year. Come with your specific demands on the type of suitable farm implements and we will support you,” he added.

AbdulRazaq said the government was discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lend money to those who want fund above N250,000 to support their businesses through the bank’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme. 

He added that the Social Investment Programme, which is due for launch anytime soon, would support smallholder farmers, artisans, small business owners, particularly women, and boost people’s purchasing power.

“You all can testify that we are doing things differently. That is one reason we need you to vote Adam Ahmed Rufai who is a member of our party and shares the vision of this administration,” he said.

Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Salihu Danladi Yakubu urged voters to come en masse on Saturday and elect Ahmed Rufai to guarantee quality and effective representation at the parliament.

Chairman of  APC in Patigi Muhammad Swasun promised that the party would deliver 100% victory on Saturday’s by-election.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor 
11 March, 2020.

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Kwara Matters

Kwara Gov seeks equal opportunity, empowerment for women, girl child

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Sunday rallied support for women empowerment, girl child education, and equal opportunity for all genders.

“I join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Women’s Day,” the Governor said in a statement by his spokesman Rafiu Ajakaye.

The statement is in commemoration of the International Women’s Day with the theme #EachForEqual.

“As an administration, we are unshaken in our belief that no meaningful development can take place when half of our population is unheard. We stand firm in our resolve to empower the girl child, as we do to our male child, to aspire to the highest height,” the statement said.

“This administration believes that half of our developmental challenges are rooted in not giving the right opportunity to women to reach for the stars. An educated woman is many times more likely to raise a healthy and successful family. Enlightened and empowered, she is more likely to save her family from malnutrition, extreme poverty, ignorance, and other social malaise that now plague our world.

“Today, therefore, I join the rest of the global community to seek fair treatment for all women and girl child. I align myself with the global rejection of sexual violence against women, forced marriage, and other oppressive policies targeted at anyone, especially women and other vulnerable groups in our society.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
8 March, 2020.

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Kwara Matters

Climate change: Kwara closes forest, to launch tree planting

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Kwara State Government has announced at least a month closure of the forest for all activities except farming, expressing worries that indiscriminate activities in the forest are fast disrupting the state’s ecosystem and exposing it to severe effects of climate change.

“The (government) is very worried about the rate of wanton deforestation for both legal and illegal purposes such as charcoal and other wood resources/products without commensurate regeneration,” Commissioner for Environment Architect Aliyu Saifudeen told newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital, on Monday.

“This is causing a tremendous imbalance in our ecosystem and Climate Change. Accordingly, the ministry has taken a painful decision to ‘close the forest’ for all kinds of activities for a minimum period of one month and maximum of three beginning from the 2nd of March to 31st of May 2020. This will enable us take stock of what is left of that natural endowment for further action and the inventory of what goes on therein. Consequently, all economic activities except farming are hereby suspended within the period forthwith with offenders liable to prosecution.

“During and at the end of the closure, all those who have any business to do with the forest are required to make themselves available to the ministry for fresh registration, including farmers whose farmlands are in excess of 25 hectares.”

Saifudeen said the government will embark on massive tree planting to be flagged off by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Environment Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar later in May, a step he asserted was needed to address the question of deforestation and climate change.

“There is a policy of cut one tree and plant five and for each new site being developed a number of trees be planted. This has not been complied with totally. A strict adherence to this policy would have salvaged to an extent our predicament of deforestation,” he added, saying the policy would be replicated at every local government area of the state.

Saifudeen, who announced ongoing sensitisation of the populace on the need to sanitise their state, said the government would also embark on enforcement of the law banning obstruction of traffic flow through indiscriminate trading on roadsides and median and street begging.

He lamented that such practices constitute serious threats to millions of people.

“We have received positive feedbacks as it concerns ‘Post Office’ and ‘Challenge’ junctions. I want to use this opportunity to call on road users to adhere to the traffic rules and to our traders to desist forthwith from displaying their wares including firewood on the roads especially on the pedestrian walk ways,” he said.

“Another major concern is the invasion of our road median by beggars and refuse. Affected areas are mostly at Oja Oba, Gambari, Balogun Fulani, Ipata, Idi Ape etc.”

The commissioner, meanwhile, announced a reorganisation of the state waste management contractors for efficiency, saying a new model is being explored to ease the incidents of refuse dumps in the state, especially in the capital.

Calling for mass supper for the state’s environmental sanitation, he also appealed to Kwarans to vacate flood plains and to keep their environment clean and free of refuse to ward off flooding as another rainy season draws near.

“A new and more mechanized approach will be unleashed especially in Ilorin Metropolis by the beginning of April. Preceding the foregoing and in the whole of March, an experimental Waste Management would be conducted strictly by the ministry. All residents are requested to give maximum cooperation to the operatives,” he said.

“We shall soon welcome the rains, we call on residents to embark on the desilting of the gutters and run-off channels around their premises to keep them clean for ease of water flow and make such places uncomfortable for rodents and other vectors of diseases such as mosquitoes and even dangerous reptiles. This is also important to forestall the calamity of flood. The ministry, on its own part, will soon begin the massive desilting of major drainage channels across the city. All those living around the Asa River banks and any other river across the State e.g. in Pategi, Kaiama e.t.c. should ensure zero tolerance for refuse dump into the rivers. We also appeal to those living on flood planes to please quit with immediate effect.”

Folashade  Yusuf 
Press Secretary, Ministry of Environment 
2 March, 2020.

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