Kano governor receives knocks over ‘arbitrary’ demolition of ‘illegal’ structures
Kano State governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf (Abba Gida-Gida) on Saturday led a demolition exercise on structures alleged to have been constructed on government lands ‘illegally’.
The exercise began at the state Race Course along Race Course Road, as a two-storey building that consisted of about 90 shops was pulled down.
The governor has said that more of such ‘illegally’ erected structures would be demolished by his administration.
The governor has however been faulted for taking “hasty steps that are simply arbitrary”.
A private lawyer in the state said “It was not proper. You cannot just pounce on people’s property without any basis. There is already a presumption of regularity as far as the allocation of those properties are. The government should have waited to have a something to rely on before commencing the demolition”.
Also commenting, a political scientist, Professor Kamilu Sani Fage of said, “Issues like that are supposed to be solved after proper investigation although these areas are well documented, but in terms of fairness, the government should have investigated fully.
“Already, the government has a committee, so let it investigate. Then the government can take actions based on its recommendations. Ideally, the government should stand by its position that people should stop developing the properties. And for fear of vandals, security officials have been ordered by the government to look after these places,” he said.
Another lawyer, Umar Isa Sulaiman, said based on the Land Use Act and other provisions, the government was supposed to first notify the developers, set up a commission of enquiry and let them come up to tell their own version, at least to be fair to them. The principle of fair hearing is clear and sacrosanct all over the world.
He added that since a commission of inquiry had been set up by the governor, developers should be given fair hearing on how they came about their properties, saying, “If the government continues like this, it will give room for people to take laws into their hands. You could see pictures on the social media of people looting this property after the demolition.
The governor’s chief press secretary, Sanusi Bature, was quoted to have said Saturday’s demolition was the first of many to come, in fulfillment of the governor’s campaign promises.
“During the campaigns, the governor promised that Kano would be restored to its lost glory, part of which is the issue of land grabbing, which has been devastating the state. The second layer of this is that we have included this issue of land grabbing into our blueprint. It was made public and people understood that we were going to demolish any illegal structure placed in a public property.
“Thirdly, during the transition period, we issued an advisory that anybody building on a public space should stop, but a lot of people refused. At that time, we didn’t have the executive power to stop anybody; hence we advised. Now that the governor has the executive power to act, he has decided to swing into action immediately, and this was what happened yesterday (Saturday). And this will continue so as to ensure that all public places are reclaimed and safe for public services,” Bature said.
Earlier in his inauguration speech on Monday, he gave a marching order to security agencies in the state to immediately take over all public properties sold by the administration of his predecessor, Abdullahi Ganduje.
“I am announcing today that all these public places and assets that were immorally plundered and sold by the Ganduje administration should be taken over by law enforcement agencies, led by the police, Department of State Security (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Hisbah pending the final decision of government,” he said.
Some of the properties the governor was referring to include “lands in and around schools, religious and cultural sites, hospitals and clinics, graveyards and green areas, and along the city wall of Kano, as well as other landed properties and assets belonging to Kano State within and outside the state, to their cronies and agents.”
He announced that a judicial commission of inquiry would be empanelled in the coming days “to ensure that all perpetrators and those that aided and abetted them are brought to justice.”
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