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Kwara Governor, AbdulRazaq Under Fire Over Neglect Of State-Owned Mega Hotel Despite N300million Budget

Kwara Hotel


Kwara Governor, AbdulRazaq Under Fire Over Neglect Of State-Owned Mega Hotel Despite N300million Budget

The deployment of the military, while necessary for restoring order, raises questions about the state’s ability to handle crises effectively

Ilorin, Kwara State– The Kwara Hotel was established in 1975 by the Kwara state government and features 175 well-appointed rooms for its guests.

The recent auctioning of the hotel’s properties by the Kwara State government under Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has raised serious concerns about transparency and accountability.

What was supposed to be a legal process has descended into chaos, with scavengers and hoodlums taking advantage of the lack of proper announcements and security measures.

The Unannounced Auction

The Kwara state government on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, auctioned properties of Kwara Hotel without a formal announcement to the public. The government’s failure to make a formal announcement allowed scavengers and thugs to exploit the situation, gaining unauthorized access to the hotel through the second gate.

Afrika Eyes correspondent visited Kwara Hotel to observe the auction proceedings. However, upon arrival, the main gate of the hotel was found to be locked. Meanwhile, scavengers and hoodlums were observed loitering around the second gate, engaging in the unauthorized looting of some of the auction items.

Speaking during the incidents of looting at Kwara Hotel, a man identified himself as Alfa Shehu told Afrika Eyes Correspondent that the auctioning commenced on Wednesday, but to his surprise, there was a lack of an official statement regarding the auction of properties at the hotel, contributing to the confusion surrounding the event.

Kwara Hotel First Gate

Kwara Hotel First Gate

“We find it surprising that the auctioning was not formally announced to the public. However, as evident, scavengers and thugs have taken control of the entire process, having gained unauthorized access to the hotel through the second gate.”

“The destination of the funds generated from this auction remains unknown, and there is a lack of transparency in the process. We observed government officials overseeing the proceedings, and it became apparent that certain valuable items were being sold to their family and friends, raising concerns about the fairness of the entire operation.”

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“I received information about the auction through a friend whose office is located opposite Kwara Hotel. Unfortunately, I was denied access to the hotel to search for specific items I intended to purchase.”

Looting Unleashed

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, who investigated the clandestine auctioning of Kwara Hotel properties by the Kwara State government, suffered injuries during the incident. The injuries occurred when some of the looted items were being loaded onto a tricycle, which subsequently toppled onto him as scavengers hurriedly fled from security operatives.

The surroundings were filled with cars, and numerous people wearing T-shirts adorned with APC logos and caps were present.

The hotel is equipped with two gates, designated one for entrance and the other for exit. However, it was observed that the second gate, typically an exit, became the unauthorized passage for hoodlums and scavengers to loot the auctioned items, as scavengers positioned themselves outside, ready to transport the looted items from the scene.

Kwara Hotel

Kwara Hotel Second Gate

A scavenger was heard speaking in the Hausa language, saying, “Let’s be fast; the police have been alerted, and they will arrive soon. Don’t let them catch us; hurry up.”

Shortly after the pillaging of Kwara Hotel properties, some looted items accidentally fell onto our correspondent. In response, he promptly called the attention of the Chief Press Secretary to the Kwara state governor, to the ongoing looting at Kwara Hotel.

Military Intervention

Not long after the Afrika Eyes correspondent reported the incident to the Kwara State Government regarding the looting at the Kwara Hotel, the state government swiftly deployed soldiers to the area to disperse the individuals involved.

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The entire area became tense as hoodlums armed with cutlasses and axes took a threatening stance, prepared to attack anyone in their path. However, with the arrival and intervention of Nigerian soldiers, the hoodlums dispersed, fleeing towards the challenge and initiating attacks on people.

History Of Neglect

The controversy surrounding Kwara Hotel didn’t begin with the recent auction; it dates back to October 2022 when Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq ordered the closure of the hotel for rehabilitation and repositioning.

Ibrahim Akaje, the former Commissioner for Business, Innovation, and Technology (BIT), announced on behalf of the state government.

It would be recalled that the staff at the hotel had staged protests due to the non-payment of their seven-month salaries. Subsequently, the government intervened to settle the arrears following the protests.

Despite a budget of N300 million allocated for the hotel’s rehabilitation in the 2023 fiscal policy, the state government seems to have abandoned its promise to revive the hotel for revenue generation.

In an unexpected turn of events, the Kwara Hotel was left abandoned by the state government, despite earlier assurances to revitalize the establishment to generate revenue for the state.

The Kwara Hotel auction scandal is a testament to the failures of governance, transparency, and accountability. The lack of proper communication and security measures has allowed opportunistic individuals to exploit the situation, tarnishing the reputation of the government.

The deployment of the military, while necessary for restoring order, raises questions about the state’s ability to handle crises effectively. As investigations unfold, the people of Kwara demand answers and accountability for the mishandling of a public asset that was meant to benefit the state.

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Allegations of government officials selling valuable items to friends and family members further taint the entire auctioning process. The lack of oversight and accountability has created an environment ripe for corruption and exploitation, undermining public trust in the government’s actions.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State government stated that there are no intentions to sell the state-owned hotel.

In a statement released on Friday, December 1, 2023,  by Hon. Damilola Yusuf, Commissioner for Business, Innovation, and Technology, the government clarified its position amid public concerns.

According to the commissioner, the open bidding process has been completed and the cabinet is to consider and approve a successful company to finance, remodel, and reconstruct the hotel on behalf of the state within terms that will never include the sale of the property and will ensure maximum values for the state.

“The process involved all relevant government agencies and registered auctioneers who are allowed under the law to partake in such. Four registered auctioneers were approved in all. The due process of valuation had also been done. The auctioneers have since begun the auctioning of these spent items and utilities to the general public after making relevant payments for same to the state coffers.”

“To that extent, the ongoing gorging of the spent items is to clear out the facility for the massive construction works that will begin soon. An exercise of that magnitude is best held in an open environment to avoid stampede. Even so, the police have been deployed to maintain law and order, and prevent opportunist behaviours as much as possible,” the commissioner said.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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