A witness, Alhaji Yunus Olatinwo, on Monday, told the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the sales of Kwara State Government Assets that the people of Offa resisted the sale of Water Corporation’s land at Olalomi Water Reservoir on Ira road because it was not in the best interest of the people.
Testifying before the panel, which commenced it public sitting in Ilorin, Olatinwo, who spoke on behalf of Olalomi community in Offa, said the reservoir was constructed in 1964 by former premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, to serve Offa and part of Erin-Ile but it stopped functioning in 2017.
He said that the community was surprised to see the construction of a residential building on the land, saying the structure would affect the underground pipes laid on the land.
“The sale of the land was never acceptable to Offa people. In fact, the Olofa of Offa visited the site when he was informed of the development,” he said.
The panel was taken evidence on the alleged illegal sale of Water Corporation’s land by the administration of former governor, Abdulfattah Ahmed.
Testifying before the panel, a retired area land officer, Samuel Ajide, said he was informed of the government’s decision to sell a plot originally reserved for future development at the reservoir and one Alhaja Bintu Lawal, who indicated interest to construct a petroleum 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 per cent of the money was paid to different government agencies but the application was approved for the construction of residential building contrary to the application.
Lawal, who bought the land, however, alleged being scammed by Ajide and other persons.
She also debunked the allegation that Offa community kicked against building any structure on the land as it was reserved for future purposes.
Chairman of the panel, Justice Olabanji Orilonishe, said the public hearing was a continuation of the fact-finding assignment, which had taken the panel to different places within and outside the state.
Two former Directors-General of Bureau of Lands; Alhaji Babatunde Yusuf and Alhaji Ibrahim Salman, however, failed to appear before the panel.
Their counsel, Yunus Lambo-Akanbi, said they were unable to attend due to short notice.
Justice Orilonishe however directed the counsel to ensure that his clients appear on Friday to testify before the panel.
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