A group known as the Concerned Saki Indigene alleged that the traditional ruler of Saki land and chairman of Oke-Ogun council of traditional rulers, Oba Khalid Olabisi Ilugbemidepo rejected a sum of 180,000 Naira from the Chairman of Saki West Local Government, Engr. Sarafadeen Omirinde over the illegal transfer of the elephant to the University of Ibadan zoological garden.
The elephant had been wandering in the border towns of Saki and Kwara for months without being endangered until the movement by the Omirinde and UI team led by Dr. Kabeer Popoola of the University zoological garden.
Elephant is an endangered species, and the modalities used in transporting it were criticized by the public and described as cruelty against the animal.
According to the petition made available to our correspondent through a group known as Concerned Saki Youth, in her petition to the government of Oyo State and others on illegalities revolving around the transfer of the elephant to University of Ibadan, they claimed that the chairman of Saki West Local government and the University of Ibadan team involved in bribery and corruption towards the evacuation of the elephant and the king of Saki were part of the people they bribed, but the king refused the bribe.
The statement reads:
“Your Excellency Sir, we wish to inform you further that after the evacuation, the Saki West Chairman, Engineer Sarafadeen Omirinde transferred a sum of #180,000 to Okere of Saki, Oba Surveyor Khalid Olabisi as the latter’s share from the elephant’s deal. The king in his usual style rejected the money.”
In a similar attempt, the University of Ibadan team offered the King a bribe of 13 Million Naira and the King reject the offer like he did for the chairman.
“Your Excellency Sir, while the news on the animal was going round , the Forestry and Research Institute sent a letter to the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture seeking the custody of the animal on a deal, but the Ministry did not yield.”
“Then, University of Ibadan wrote a letter to the Ministry of Agriculture seeking the evacuation and custody of the animal, but the Ministry declined. The University would not budge still as they came down to negotiate with the Okere of Sàkì, Oba Surveyor Khalid Olabisi on how they could have the custody of the animal. We have reliable information that the University offered the king a sum of #13,000,000, but the Oba rejected the offer and told the University he wields no such power. Committed to their selfish interest and hidden agenda, the University did not rest.”
“They contacted Saki West Chairman, Engineer Sarafadeen Omirinde presenting to him the same request of having the custody of the strayed elephant on a deal. The chairman agreed with the University to the disregard for the earlier instruction of the Ministry of Agriculture. He then conspired with the Ministry of Environment to get a predetermined permission from the same Ministry.”
The group urged the government to intervene and bring people who were involved in this to justice.
Our efforts to reach the king and the chairman proved abortive. The chairman didn’t pick up his calls while Okere and Dr. Kabir Popoola number was not reachable.