Metro & Crime

How Kwara Water Corporation’s Land was unlawfully sold: witnesses

*As panel on sale of govt properties begins public hearings

Public hearing began on Monday at the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the sales of Kwara State government assets with focus on the alleged illegal sale of Water Corporation land at Olalomi Water Reservoir, Ira Road, Offa by the administration of former Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed.
Testifying before the Panel, a retired Area Land Officer, Samuel Ajide said he was informed of government’s decision to sell a plot originally reserved for future development at the reservoir and one Alhaja Bintu Lawal, who indicated her interest to construct a petrol station on the land, applied in October 2015.
Ajide, who confirmed that the sum of N7 million was paid into his personal account by Alhaja Lawal in 2015, alleged that 90% of the money was paid to different government agencies but the application was approved for the construction of residential building contrary to the application.
“Alhaja Bintu paid the sum of N7 million to me for a portion of land at Olalomi Water Reservoir after she applied to purchase the land for construction of petroleum station. The application met a brick wall when the Ministry of Water Resources insisted that the land was reserved for future purposes. But Alhaja Bintu later sought the intervention of a former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly Hassan Oyeleke who approached former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and approval was issued for a residential building,” Ajide told the panel.
Alhaja Lawal, who bought the land, however, alleged being scammed by Mr Samuel Ajide and other persons.
“Ajide approached me in 2015 that the land was to be sold. He told me he was still in the government service. I did not know he has retired. In fact, he came with government vehicles on several occasions and we bargained from N10 million to N7million for the portion of Olalomi Water Reservoir Offa.
“Ajide could not produce any paper or title documents to give me. I had to approach Hon. Hassan Oyeleke who helped me secure the R of O after paying N909,250.50k in December 2018 which was charged on government land. In fact I lost more than that N7 million on that land. Ajide scammed me because I am an illiterate,” she said.
Alhaja Lawal also debunked the allegation that the Offa community kicked against building any structure on the land as it was reserved for future purposes.
Alhaji Yunus Kola Olatinwo, who spoke on behalf of the Olalomi community in Offa, said the reservoir was constructed in 1964 by former Premier of Northern Region Sir Ahmadu Bello to serve Offa and parts of Erin-Ile but it stopped functioning in 2017.
Alhaji Olatinwo said the community was surprised to see the construction of a residential building on the land, saying the structure would affect the underground pipes.

 

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