I’m not involved in Kwara failed road projects, Saraki denies allegation

The President of the 8th Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has reacted to a story published by Arewa PUNCH denying any involvement in the construction or rehabilitation of the Ero Omo-Kilanko-Biada community road project in the Ilorin South Local Government Area of Kwara State which was credited to him.

A community member had earlier linked the former Senate President  to the construction of the road, but Arewa PUNCH further investigations have revealed that Saraki was not a party to the failed road construction.

Some notable members of the community who spoke with our correspondent have also confirmed this.

Arewa PUNCH gathered that though the community road project was approved and executed in the 2017 Budget approved by the Federal Government when Saraki was serving as the Senate President, it was discovered that he never fast tracked nor involved himself in the construction of the community road as it was not one of his constituency projects.

More investigations revealed that the Ero Omo-Kilanko-Biada community road was approved in the 2017 Federal government budget as one of the MDA projects in Kwara State and was executed and supervised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Speaking with Arewa PUNCH Correspondent in Ilorin, Kwara State capital, a director in the FMARD, Dr Aliu Issa said that the Ero Omo -Kilanko-Biada road was one of the projects approved for rehabilitation in the 2017 Federal Government budget and was executed according to the specification in the budget.

“The Community road project was approved for rehabilitation in the 2017 budget as one of the MDA projects, it was awarded to a contractor and it was supervised by the ministry, completed and handed over to the people of the community.

“Although, the Ero Omo -Kilanko-Biada road project had erosion problem and needed to be provided with drainage but since the contractor was awarded the rehabilitation of the road project, he did what was awarded to him, completed it and handed it to the government.

“After the road was handed over, the community came to this office and wrote a letter to thank the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, for the successful execution of the road project.  Unfortunately, a few months after the completion of the project, the rains came, and erosion washed away the road,” the director disclosed.

The Ero Omo-Kilanko-Biada Community Association which claimed that it had written many letters to the state government through the State Ministry of Works and Transport to assist in rehabilitating the road regretted their erroneous assumption that the former Senate President influenced and constructed the road for them in 2017.

According to the Secretary of the Association, Mallam Saka Abdulkadir, “the road was rehabilitated and laid with Asphalt in 2017 during the regime of Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed as the Governor of Kwara State. Dr Bukola Saraki was the Senate President then, we thought that every project given to us then was from Dr Saraki and we believed that our community road project was one of his Constituency projects that benefited from his magnanimity that is why we wrote in our letters submitted to the Ministry of Works that the Ero Omo -Kilanko-Biada road was a Constituency project of Dr Saraki. We did not know that it was one of the MDA projects.

“What we wanted from the state government was that the road should be in good condition for our members to get to their homes.

“Our community association has spent over N800,000 as a self-help project to buy sand and laterite to fill the potholes on the road to make it passable but the erosion has been washing it away each time the repair work was done.

“We are appealing to the state governor, Mallam AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq, to come to our aid by constructing a good drainage and rehabilitate the road which runs through many communities,” Abdulkadir stated.

A community leader who resides on Mubo Street, Maraba in Ilorin East Local Government Area of Kwara State, Mr Godwin Banji who said that no rehabilitation work had been done on the road project for over ten years stressed that it had never been earmarked as a Constituency project whether by the state or federal governments.

Banji who equally disclosed that no provision was made for the building of drainage facilities during the construction of the road by the government lamented that a facility hitherto used as ‘corpers’ lodge’ built in the area no longer functions because it has been abandoned by the corpers who can not access the place as a result of the totally collapsed state of the road which the community can no longer maintain.

“Mubo road is totally bad. I’m appealing to the government as I always do, that they should help us to put the road back in good shape.

Also dissociating  Dr Saraki, who incidentally was a former governor of the state from the failed road project, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, Head, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office, Abuja, in a signed statement clarified that the former Senate President had no constituency projects in either Ero Omo -Kilanko -Biada Community in Ilorin South Local Government and Mubo Street, Maraba in Ilorin East Local Government Areas respectively when he was elected as the Senator representing Kwara Central and when he was the Senate President in the National Assembly.

In the statement titled, ‘Saraki Has No Constituency Road Project on Ero -Omo, Mubo Street Areas’ Olaniyonu, stated that “the highly placed and respected politician who had served Nigeria in many capacity had no constituency projects in the two aforementioned areas in Kwara state.

 “We would like to say without any equivocation that contrary to your report, Dr. Saraki has no road constituency project in the Ero Omo-Kilanko-Biada community in Ilorin South LGA and Mubo Street in the Maraba Area, Ilorin East LGA. We believe that aspect of the report linking Dr. Saraki’s name to the failed road is pure mischief by the reporter, Tunde Oyekola, who simply chose to mislead the readers for whatever purpose or objective.

“We want to state categorically once again that Dr. Saraki has no road constituency project on Mubo Street in the Maraba area. Also, none of the road projects facilitated in Kwara Central Senatorial District in the eight years that Dr. Saraki spent in the Senate failed within three months of its completion. To prevent such a shameful occurrence, Dr. Saraki had a project supervisor who monitored the work as they were being executed by the contractors and the supervisory ministry or agency.

“We will appreciate it if this rejoinder can be given the same prominence as the original story so that the wrong and mischievous impression created by the story can be corrected and the readers can be given the benefit of our explanations,” the statement concluded.

(Punch)

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Former Senate President’s foundation pays off Mr Ibu’s medical expenses

Former senate president, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has cleared all the medical expenses of a popular ailing actor, Mr John Okafor, aka Mr Ibu.

Saraki did this through his foundation, ‘Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation’.

Mr Ibu had on Wednesday appealed to Nigerians to come to his aide, noting that he does not want his legs to be cut off, following an undisclosed ailment that has befallen him.

Reacting to his appeal, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation, on Friday came to his rescue and settled all his medical bills.

Disclosing this on Twitter now X platform, the foundation opined: “The Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation is honoured to have extended support to Mr John Okafor also known as Mr. Ibu, a renowned comedic icon who has graced our screens and brought joy and laughter to countless homes over the past four decades.

“When we learned of his recent health challenges and the financial burdens associated with his medical treatment, we felt a deep sense of responsibility to assist in any way we could. We promptly paid off his entire medical expenses as of Wednesday.

“We encourage everyone who can to come forward and assist in any capacity, whether it’s through financial contributions, moral support, or prayers. “We wish him a swift and complete recovery.”

Recall that Nigeria music stars cum celebrities, Davido, P-Square and Tunde Ednut had promised to take care of Mr Ibu’s medical expenses.

Nigerians all over the world had begun to contribute money to support the ailing actor.

(Vanguard)

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