The Kwara State government has pulled down a library complex named in honour of Olusola Saraki, a second republic politician and father of Bukola Saraki, former senate president.
Plans to demolish the library, located along Agbooba-Adeta road in Ilorin, the state capital, were said to have started last Friday when security agents were deployed to the area.
It is not immediately clear why the building was demolished, as Rafiu Ajakaye, chief press secretary to Abdurahman Abdulrazaq, governor of the state, did not respond to a text message seeking his reaction.
The library located along Kuntu, Agbo-Oba area in Ilorin is under the purview of Ilorin West Local Government Area.
In a telephone chat with Daily Trust, the Transition Implementation Committee Chairman (TIC) of Ilorin West, Tosho Abdulgafar, said the demolition was approved by the council.
According to him, the action was premised on the complaints of the community that the building has become a hideout for criminal elements.
“The place has been vandalised and it was the community that approached the local government ever before our assumption of office to help repair the facility not to serve as hideout for hoodlums.”
“After our discussion with the community, we agreed to turn it to an IT centre. So after the ongoing demolition, the construction will commence immediately for an IT centre to make the place useful for the residents.”
Asked if the place will still retain the name of Saraki, the TIC boss said such decision was subject to the view of the people since it belongs to the local government.
“Late Saraki is someone we have all benefited from and I don’t think it is bad to name if after him. But if the public wants another thing, it is strictly their choice”, Tosho added.
Also the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, Arch Aliyu Saifudeen, whose ministry oversees the council told our correspondent that there was a lot of misinformation on the demolition.
However, the former senate president has commented on the development on his Facebook page.
“I just got the news that the major official assignment carried out by the Governor of my state, Kwara, today, is the demolition of an old public library named after my late dad, Dr. Olusola Saraki. May Almighty Allah continue to retain a place for Oloye in Aljannah Firdaus,” he wrote.
Besides, Gbemisola Saraki, his sister, who is the Minister of State for Transportation, also reacted to the demolition of the library.
She said: “Yet again, today we find that the Governor of Kwara State’s focus is not on building up Kwara, but on demolishing buildings which were owned or named after my late father the Waziri of Ilorin.
“No matter how many structures are demolished, Baba Saraki’s legacy can never be destroyed, because it lives in the hearts and minds of the great people of Kwara.”
In January 2020, the state government had demolished the Sarakis’ political home, better known as ‘Ile Arúgbó’, in Ilorin.
The property was demolished following the revocation of the land by the government.
The governor had said the land was originally designated for the construction of a secretariat and parking lot of the civil service clinic. He said it was illegally allocated to a private firm — Asa Investments Limited — owned by the late father of the ex-senate president.
The Sarakis had challenged the demolition in court.
In March, a high court sitting in Ilorin had restrained the Kwara government from taking over Ile Arugbo.