From Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Kwara State Government, yesterday, got a legal green light to proceed with building on the controversial Ile Arugbo land in Ilorin, as the High Court struck out former Senate president, Bukola Saraki’s case challenging the government’s take over of the land.
Justice Abiodun Adewara of the Ilorin High Court struck out Saraki’s case for lack of diligent prosecution.
The judge struck out the case after the appellants, Saraki’s Asa Investment Ltd, again, failed to call any witness to support its claim that the land belonged to the firm said to be owned by the late Olusola Saraki.
After many years of using the land to host political followers in the heart of the capital city, the government reclaimed the land from the Sarakis in December 2019 and went ahead to clear the land ahead of its use for construction of another government secretariat.
The government had said the land originally belonged to the public, but was controversially transferred to a firm owned by Saraki without any payment made to the government or document issued for that purpose, in one of the most vivid examples of abuse of power and annexation of public property for private use.
The Sarakis in turn challenged the government’s decision by filing a court case to keep ownership of the land, claiming they have documents to prove ownership of the property.
After many months of legal back-and-forth, Justice Adewara, yesterday, struck out the case after the claimants failed to call any witness or tender documents to prove ownership of the land.