Uncertainty over What Government is Doing at Kano Race Course
There have been conflicting signals from Kano State government over what it is doing with a portion of land being developed at the Kano Race Course in Nassarawa local government area of the State.
The race course is a wide sparse of land designated solely for horse racing, according to officials of the state sports commission, and apart from stables where horses are tendered to and the shanty huts where the hostlers reside, the course also accommodates unofficial mini pitches where young men play football every evening, in addition to the routine aerobic exercises which citizens utilize its track for every day of the week.
Former state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, had asked the hostlers to vacate the premises, dismantling their shanties and makeshift stables, to replace them with what he termed modern stables. He also said he was planning to expand the stands where spectators will stay to watch events.
The project began but was not completed, and the shanties returned after his administration had gone.
Of recent however, a portion of the premises was cut out and demarcated for construction of what is still not clear.
Initial notice at the site of the project indicated that a ‘proposed modern sports complex’ was being erected, but after a while, when the site had been adequately cordoned and construction work already at advanced stage, another notice emerged signaling a ‘proposed commercial development.’
The earlier notice suggests that the construction would be for public interest while the later indicates that it would serve the commercial interest of individuals.
Since the two notices are still existing simultaneously, it has remained unclear what is being done within the cordoned area.
Nigerian Sketch’s findings however revealed that it was the Kano Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) that granted permission for the development of the land in question, following an alleged gift of the portion to a businessman for the ongoing construction work.
The managing director of KNUPDA, Arch. Sulaiman Ahmad, is the son-in-law of the governor, who is married to one of his daughters, Amina Umar Ganduje.
The connection between the governor’s family and the businessman developing the land was yet to be known as of the time this story was published.
As it is, the state government has been facing public backlash for alleged sale of public properties for commercial purposes, and authorities have continued to respond that dormant public properties need to be utilized for productive purposes.
The opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had threatened to institute legal action against the state government and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, saying it will challenge the alleged demolition of Daula Hotel, Triumph Publishing Company, and the planned relocation of the Kano Zoological Garden.
There are also concerns being raised about the occupation of the Kano Central Eid Prayer Ground at Kofar Mata, where new commercial structures have emerged around the ground. A resident of Kofar Wambai area near the Eid ground told Nigerian Sketch that about 30% of the ground has been occupied by the new structures.
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