Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said that over 90 properties built with public funds were unlawfully appropriated by some officials of the previous state administration, saying that the development underpins the impunity with which the state was almost run aground.
The Governor has set up a 15-member committee to undertake a comprehensive assessment and recommendation under the Kwara State Social Assessment Vulnerable Indicator (KW-SAVI) Parameters — a key part of AbdulRazaq’s plan to clean up the state and ward off environmental disasters.
The committee is to be chaired by former Chief Judge of Kwara State Justice Raliat Elelu, with Shuaib AbdulGaniyu, an assistant director in the Governor’s Office, as Secretary. The committee will be inaugurated today by the Secretary to the State Government Prof. Mamman Saba Jibril.
Speaking on the misappropriation of public properties, AbdulRazaq said the damning revelations came from the report of the Senator Sulaiman Ajadi Committee which he had set up to probe the handling of public assets since 1999, lamenting how such actions have stripped Kwara of necessary accommodation to host statutory dignitaries visiting the state.
“The (Senator Ajadi) committee did a very good job. They submitted two reports and we’re waiting for the final report. It is unfortunate that from my little reading of it so far, people just shared government property as if it was their fiefdom. They did not even think for one second that it was government property,” according to the excerpts of the maiden breakfast meeting AbdulRazaq had with reporters on Thursday.
“For example, you give property to Harmony Holdings to invest on behalf of the state as trust and those in Harmony Holdings just shared the properties among themselves, even selling below the valuation prices. Even those in government did the same thing. There is a new layout called New GRA, none of them went there to build new houses because it was cheaper to pick government houses for next to nothing rather than build their own houses. We will look at the recommendations.
“In fact, some of them just live in those houses without paying anything, while most of them only started paying after the election was won and lost to the extent that the state government does not have enough accommodation to accommodate dignitaries and traditional rulers from other states to host them, rather than putting them in the hotel. That’s how they shared the property and we are looking at more than 90 properties which they carved out for themselves. We’ll go back to the report of the panel and make sure the proper thing is done,” the Governor said.
He added that the Raliat Elelu committee will look into environmental issues such as unlawful dumping of waste and other violations that hurt public planning and endanger public health.
“We have also set up a committee in place headed by Justice Raliat Elelu to look at the issue top down on environment and once they submit their report things will start changing. If you drive through our major roads, you will see rubbish all over the places. But give us time, all these will be a thing of the past,” the Governor assured.