The Kwara State government has explained why it demolished a prominent public library located in Ilorin, the state capital named after the second republic Senate Leader, Olusola Saraki.
The state government in a statement on Tuesday evening said the building was dilapidated and had become a hiding place for hoodlums in the state and a threat to public safety.
It added in the statement titled ‘Clarifications on renovation of Ilorin West Local Government’s Library Named After Senator Sola Saraki’ which was signed by Mukhtar AbdulGafar Omotosho on behalf of the Ilorin West Local Government (TIC) that the building was pulled down to renovate it and make it a more befitting public edifice.
The library will be upgraded to an ICT Centre/e-Library for public use, Omotosho explained.
The statement added that the state government has no intention to change the name of the public library even after the renovation is completed.
It will be recalled that Naija News had earlier reported that the son of the late Saraki, Dr. Bukola Saraki had expressed sadness and surprise over the demolition of the library named after his father.
But the Kwara State government in its statement cautioned that the matter should not be politicized.
The full statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to what seems like a deliberate misinformation by some idle hands on the planned renovation of one of our properties at Ilorin West Local Government named after the late Olusola Saraki.
“The said dilapidated and vandalized property belongs to the people of Ilorin West. In other words, it is a public library constructed with public funds but named after the late politician. Community representatives led by Mallam Abdulganiyu Salihu Onifila cried out to the council to come to their aids by making use of the place for betterment of the community and local government at large.
“This property, long in disuse, had been in a state of horrible disrepair over the years and was serving as a haven for criminal elements, thereby posing threats to public safety.
“Since our coming on board, we have received several public appeals to do something about the dilapidated structure to give it a face-lift and put it to good public use.
“It is against this background that we have saved up to rehabilitate the facility by making it an ICT Centre/e-Library for public use, especially in this age of information communication technology.
“To begin this work, the old structure needed to give way, hence the demolition and packing of same that began last week.
“We wish to emphasize that this is a public facility owned by the Ilorin West Local Government. Naming it after the late politician was simply honorary.
“The local government recognizes the need to give honour to whom it is due. The facility will retain the honorary name after the rehabilitation, just like we have other public facilities named after eminent Kwarans, late or alive. We do not see any need for anyone to play cheap politics with the action of the local government over its own property.”