2017 may have been a fantastic year for some personalities in Kwara but for many others, it is a year to speedily forget due to the travails they went through in the out gone year.
In this special report, ADEBAYO OLODAN recaps major headlines of 2017 as it concerns people of Kwara origin.
Dele Belgore and ex-minister, Abubakar: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February arraigned a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mohammed Dele Belgore and former minister of National Planning, Prof Abubakar Suleiman at the Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged money laundering.
They were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Aikawa on a five-count charge. EFCC accused them of conspiring to directly take possession of the N450million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act.
The commission said they committed the alleged offense on March 27, 2015, contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
In the second count, EFCC said they “directly took possession of the sum.”
In the third count, the defendants were accused of conspiring to make cash payment of N450million, which “exceeded the amount authorised by law without going through financial institution.”
The alleged offense, EFCC said, is contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.
In the fourth and fifth counts, they were accused of making cash payment of N450million to one Sheriff Shagaya without going through a financial institution.
Belgore and Suleiman however pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
Sheikh Ibrahim Niass: Ilorin, the Kwara State capital in April 2017, played host to Muslim visitors from across the country and other African countries during the 31st Maulid anniversary of Sheik Ibrahim Niass.
The weeklong event kicked start with a conference at Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin and was rounded up at the Metropolitan Square, Asa Dam Road, Ilorin.
Traders, commercial drivers and motorcyclists in Ilorin, made brisk business while the event lasted.
According to the Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Alhaji Abdulrafiu Ayinla, the programme was designed to improve relationship among followers of Niass across the globe and immortalise the late Islamic scholar.
Alofa of Iloffa and Olota of Odo-Owa: The Kwara State Government announced that it has placed a salary suspension and movement restriction on two traditional rulers of Ilofa and Odo-Owa in the Oke Ero Local Government Area of the state over a clash that ensued between them.
The affected traditional rulers are the Alofa of Iloffa, Oba Samuel Dada and the Olota of Odo- Owa, Oba Toba Adimula.
The Ilofa and Odo Owa communities had engaged in a communal clash in May 2017 over a superiority contest on which community should first sell fresh yam in the general market in the area.
Many properties were said to have been destroyed by the warring parties, while scores of persons were also injured.
At a press briefing at the end of the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting in Ilorin, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Muhammed Haruna Tambiri, disclosed that after the consideration of the White Paper by the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the state government to investigate the matter, the SEC agreed that both monarchs’ allowances be forfeited for three months.
Hon Ahman Bahago Pategi: A Lagos State Magistrate Court in Igbosere ordered that the lawmaker representing Edu/Moro/Patigi Constituency of Kwara State at the House of Representatives, Aliyu Ahman Pategi, be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The court, presided over by Afolashade Botoku, made the order following an application to that effect by the EFCC that Patigi stood surety for a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide, who has a pending criminal charge against her before the Federal High Court in Ibadan.
The EFCC had charged Mrs. Akinjide for allegedly collecting N650 million out of the $115 million allegedly doled out by a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to compromise the 2015 general election.
Aliyu had, on August 10, 2016, entered a bail bond of N650 million to secure an administrative bail for Mrs. Akinjinde, but the former minister was said to have jumped bail.
Kwara Judges and Magistrates : Kwara State lower court judges and magistrates threatened to down tool if their working conditions failed to improve.
To this end, there is already a 21-day ultimatum for the government to put things right or there will be a boycott of the courtrooms while commenting on the development, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Kwara State, Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN) told National Pilot in a telephone chat that, “We are hearing it as a rumour just like any other person. I am a member of the JSC but I am not aware the body has been served,” Ajibade submitted.
The complaints of the magistrates which our reporter gathered was attached to a letter sent to the Kwara State Chief Judge, Saidu Kawu on Thursday November 2, 2017, in which they therefore demanded: the provision of an enabling working environment, holistic review of security provisions both within and outside the court premises, immediate payment of all outstanding allowances and provision of cars/car grant to all magistrates, among others.
Ahmad Adekunle Salami: It was an incredible sight for thousands of Muslims who gathered at the Muslim Cemetery Osere, Ilorin for the reburial of the corpse of Ahmad Adekunle Salami (better known as Kulasa) who was struck to death by lightening at College of Education, Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State in September.
The condition of the corpse of the 47-year-old which was buried 47 days prior to the exhumation carried out in October however stunned countless of people who gathered at the venue.
Contrary to the expectation of the people that the body would have decomposed due to circumstances surrounding the death of Salami and the rigours of the grave, it became a miracle of sort as it was intact after it was exhumed.
Also, there was no stench or offensive odour coming out from it just as there were no flies around the body.
Moshood Mustapha: Owner of a four storey building that collapsed under construction, at Zulu Gambari road in Ilorin, Hon Moshood Mustapha has described the incident as an act of God.
When the building which was an extension of Crystal House International Hotel caved in around 11am when about 200 workers were said to be on site, though no life was reportedly lost in the incident.
Reacting to the incident in a statement signed by him on Saturday, Mustapaha said the incident which was ‘an act of God’ occurred during a scheduled controlled demolition of one part of the extension of Crystal House Hotel.
According to him, there was a slight incident that led to a partial collapse beyond the area of the targeted demolition.
Kwara Poly: Both fresh and returning students of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin bemoaned the alleged increase in school fees of the institution for the 2017/18 academic session.
The institution was scheduled to begin a new academic session, following the release of admission list of new intakes.
However, some of the returning students have described the new school fees reportedly posted on the institution’s portal on October 6, 2017, as “outrageous and an attempt to deny many Kwarans access to education.”
According to information obtained from the institution’s portal, indigene students who paid N32, 500 last academic session were on resumption expected to pay the sum of N52, 500 while non-indigenes were to part with N75,000 instead of the N32,090 they paid into the institution’s coffers a year ago.
Sen Sha’aba Lafiagi: At least three people were confirmed dead, while many others sustained injuries as security men attached to ex-governor of Kwara State, Senator Shaaba Lafiagi shot protesting youths on the eve of local government election in the state.
The angry youths in return, burnt down part of the Senator’s residence in Lafiagi, Edu Local Government Area of the state protesting killing of their community members.
The Wakillin Lafiagi, Umaru Shaaba, gave the names of the dead victims as Abubakar, Alhassan and Musa Abdullahi.
The over 300 youths had attempted to stop the Sen Lafiagi from entering the town for allegedly failing to assist the community in repairing the collapsed culvert on Lafiagi Road, around Sodo River, about four kilometres to the town.
Unilorin Law Graduate, Firdaus: A graduate of Law, University of Ilorin, Firdaus Amosa, was denied access to the venue of the call to bar ceremony after insisting on wearing hijab.
She described the Nigerian Law School’s refusal to call her to the bar a violation of her right to freedom of religion.
The issue attracted significant attention on social media, with Nigerians divided on her decision and that of the authorities of the law school.
Firdaus, while speaking with newsmen maintained that she remained resolute in her convictions to set a precedent for hijab-wearing Muslims during the ceremony.
When asked what motivated her to take the decision, Firdaus said she wanted to change the narrative and give Muslim ladies the rights to express their constitutional rights as enshrined in the constitution.