From Segun Amure, (The New Diplomat’s Abuja Bureau)
The Kwara State High Court in Ilorin, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit challenging the demolition of Ile Arugbo by the Kwara State government and the acquisition of the disputed land from the family of former Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
The judge, Abiodun Adewara, said the suit lacked diligent prosecution by the claimant, Asa Investment Limited, acting for the Sarakis.
On Tuesday, the claimant’s lawyer, AbdulAzeez Ibrahim, told the court that he had filed an application to substitute the late second claimant, Baba Eleku, with one Abubakar Oluwatoyin.
Mr Ibrahim further called for the adjournment of the case to enable him file the statement on oath of the newly proposed second defendant.
He added that he was unable to continue the hearing due to the absence of the claimants’ lead counsel, Akin Onigbinde, whom he said was bereaved.
The defence lawyer, Salman Jawondo, in his response opposed the application for adjournment.
Jawondo affirmed that the claimants’ conduct showed they “are not interested in expeditious prosecution of the case.”
The judge in his ruling rejected the application for adjournment and asked the claimants’ lawyer to call their first witness.
Furthermore, the defence lawyer urged the court to strike out the case and adjourn for the hearing of the state government’s counter-claim when the claimant failed to call a witness.
“The claimants are not prosecuting the case diligently.”
The judge therefore struck out the suit and adjourned till March 17 for the hearing of the defenants’ counter-claim.
It would be recalled that the Kwara State government on 2 January, 2020 demolished Ile-Arugbo which was located directly opposite the family house of Saraki’s in Ilorin, Kwara state
According to the State government, the building was demolished to reclaim the plot of land acquired by Dr. Olusola Saraki, father to Dr. Bukola Saraki, Former Senate President and Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Minister of state for Aviation without proper documentation.
Ile-Arugbo is a property owned by the late Olusola Saraki. The concept behind the structure is to serve as a platform for reaching out to aged people in Ilorin during the second republic where food, money and health care services are provided for the concerned people in the society.
The said land was acquired by the state in 1970 for the construction of its Civil Service Unit, State Secretariat and parking spaces which was later abandoned. In 1980, it was redesigned but only the State Clinic was built while the rest of the land was allocated to Asa Investment Company in 1982, an entity owned by late Dr. Saraki