Uncertainty over Peace C’ttee report
By Mumini AbdulKareem
More facts emerged last night on the collapse of talks between the Kwara State Government and the counsel to the former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki over the demolition of Ile Arugbo.
Both parties reached a cul-de-sac on the issue following sharp disagreement on the demands made by the Kwara State Government and the representative of Saraki.
The meeting which lasted for about one hour, it was gathered, ended abruptly with no new date agreed upon for the next round of talks.
This is coming on the heels of the position of the court for both parties to explore out-of-court settlement over the development before the next adjournment date on March 2, 2020.
But speaking on the latest development, a source privy to the discussion who confided in National Pilot said the counsel to Saraki, Bar AbdulAziz Ibrahim (SAN) made three demands regarding the issue which were all rejected by the Kwara State Government.
Part of the demands made by Saraki’s counsel, the source further noted, was that the government should lift the revocation order it placed on the disputed property and apologise to the people who were attacked during the demolition especially the aged women.
The source said Ibrahim also request for the Kwara State Government to rebuild the property which was pulled down in the wee hours of January 2nd, 2020.
The source who doesn’t want his name in print said “The counsel to Saraki made three demands which include that the Government should lift the revocation order, rebuilt the property and apologise to the people that were affected during the demolition especially the aged women”.
“On their part, the government argued that the contentious land should also be left for them to be used for public good. Both parties however rejected the proposals which led to the meeting ending abruptly without any concrete resolution”, the source added.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the last meeting held at the conference hall of the Governor’s office Ilorin, council to Saraki, AbdulAziz Ibrahim (SAN) said the two parties could not reach any concrete agreement.
“Today is the second time we are meeting on this issue of settlement out of court, but up till now we have not been able to agree on definite terms. We have adjourned for us to meet again and see if we can iron out the proposed term of settlement and counter proposed term of settlement. That’s where we are now. We hope to meet again before the time the case was adjourned. No date yet. We adjourned indefinitely”.
Efforts to get the official response from the government on the issue after the meeting was not successful as the government’s representatives were not willing to respond to inquiries from reporters.
In line with the agreement reached on January 24, 2020 by the counsel to Kwara state government and Asa Investment Ltd on the need to settle the issue of the demolished Ile Arugbo out of court, representatives of the two parties had penultimate Thursday held the inaugural reconciliation meeting.
After sitting for one hour, the parties adjourned to yesterday (last week – when) for further discussion.
The state High Court, sitting in Ilorin, had on January 15,2020 advised parties in the suit to in the interest of peace, explore an out of court settlement over the disputed land on which Saraki’s Ile Arugbo was built.
In another ruling on January 24, 2020, Justice Abiodun Adebara urged the parties to resolve the case amicably before the next adjourned date.
“This court is particularly impressed by the parties for the steps taken to settle out of court; they are therefore enjoined to engage in meaningful discussions that will lead to the resolution of the case out of court. I wish the parties well in their deliberation.
“With the concurrence of the learned counsel, this case is adjourned to March 2nd for the report of out-of-court settlement”, Adebara submitted.
Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki who inspected the relics of the destroyed building during her last visit to Ilorin noticeably expressed discontent over the action of the Governor. She had earlier attacked the Governor who is also an APC member while reacting to the incident.
Meanwhile, uncertainty surrounded the conclusion of the report of the Peace Committee set up to intervene on the matter last night.
Some members of the committee who spoke with this reporter on the issue were not forthcoming on how far the committee has gone and whether the report or communiqué was ready or not.
“The committee was set up based on age and most of the members are elders. But I don’t know why the report, if it has been concluded, has not been made public up till this time”, the source added.
Another member of the committee who was also contacted on the issue said a subcommittee saddled with the report may be working on it.
“Although, I am a member of the committee, I haven’t heard from them since, probably the subcommittee is working on it (the report)”, he added.
Recall that a high power peace committee chaired by former Grand Kadi of the Kwara State Shariah Court of Appeal, AbdulKadir Orire (retd) and other prominent sons of Ilorin Emirate was recently constituted to intervene on the issue.