Ibadan – The site where the people of Saki town in Oyo state proposed to build an ultra-modern fire service station has become a subject of controversy in recent time .
At the centre of the controversy is the Honourable Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who is an illustrious son of the ancient Saki town.
While authorities of the Saki West local government area of Oyo state insisted that the disputed parcel of land was allocated to the state fire services, the Minister claimed that the land was allocated to him for the construction of an ICT centre.
Already, some leaders of Saki Parapo, the umbrella body of all Saki sons and daughters, have raised an alarm over planned demolition of N20m fire service station by the Communications Minister.
Those who spoke at a press conference held in Ibadan condemned the action of the minister, saying he (Shittu) does not have any document on the parcel of land he is laying claim to.
National President, Saki Parapo Alhaji Sule Lawal and the Akeweje of Saki, Chief Raimi Akande spoke on behalf of Saki people.
They alleged that the Minister was planning to use his ‘power’ to demolish the over N20m fire service station aimed to serve the needs of people of Saki, Iseyin, Tede, Igboho, Okeho and other towns within Oke-Ogun zone during emergencies.
Also at the press conference was the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Saki West Local Government, Alhaji Kareem Adegoke.
Adegoke, while speaking said the land which the Minister intends to build a Computer Based Test (CBT) Centre had been allocated to Fire Service for the construction of a fire station noting that the land belongs to Saki West Local Government and not the Minister.
He further declared that the land in question has been allocated to fire service for the construction of a befitting station to serve the needs of the people of the area but wondered why the Minister will claim that he is the owner of the land which he does not have any document or title to claim.
He said the Minister should stop fighting a war of blame because it will be suicidal for him to allow his personal interest to override the interest of the public, the people of Saki, his hometown and other towns and villages in the Oke-Ogun area.
Adegoke said all efforts to ensure that the issue did not become a media issue have proved abortive even though, the Local Government has decided to allocate another plot of land to the Minister but he decided not to allow a sleeping dog lies.
He, however, called on all and sundry to prevail on the Minister to bury his plan in the demolition of the station aimed to serve the area especially during the time of emergency.
“The land that has been given to Fire Service already was now given to him, no document. Bayo has no any title, no document, no C of O, no letter of consent from the fire service. Fire Service came to Ibadan and reported that the land given to them has been given to Bayo Shittu to build ICT centre, that is how the trouble started.
“I ,as the Chairman of the Local Government, invited eminent persons, noble persons, we deliberated on this issue, it was agreed that the fire service is important, so the ICT. But it is not meaningful to start a fire station outside the town. Fire station should be centrally located. That was the argument.
‘’We said we should look for another piece of land and give to Bayo Shittu, we should allow fire station to construct their station. That was the agreement. Two days after, Bayo went to court asking them to set aside the construction. The fire service is not joined in the suit, they are constructing their station.
“That land, Bayo Shittu has no development on it, no survey no deed, nothing. So the fire service just went there to construct. Nothing was demolish on that land. Now, he swore an oath of allegiance to present the office as a public servant, is he now using his personal interest to override public interest that he want to have the land at all cost to override public interest?
The Akeweje of Saki, Chief Raimi Akande, an ex-Permanent Secretary in the state said the aim of the press conference was to put the record straight and not to blackmail the Minister,adding that “We are not here to destroy anybody, we are not here to blackmail anybody.
“Bayo Shittu is my brother, I contributed to his education. As a retired permanent secretary, you know my take home monthly, I am not contesting for any post or looking for commissioner at my age. But we assure you that our coming here is not to blackmail anybody.
“We are not here to disowned him, yes he was given an award by Parapo to recognise him, he is not the only one given awards. Infact the fire service station is not for Saki alone, it is for Oke-Ogun area.
“Our stand is that we are looking for amicable settlement. You know, when two elephants are fighting, it is the grasses that suffer. We want ICT and the Fire Service Station, that is why we have to cry to you people. Two, we expect our son to say that I give this land to you and I will look for another one. hree, we have told the Chairman to allocate another land for him which he has done’’,he added.
Shittu,however, described the council boss as s liar, who is only working out the script handed over to him by the state government.
The Minister, who said this during an interview granted to newsmen in Ibadan, declared that majority of Saki people are in support of the property.