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UNLAWFUL DEMOLITION: Kano traders seek criminal investigation into Gov Yusuf, Kwankwaso’s actions

UNLAWFUL DEMOLITION: Kano traders seek criminal investigation into Gov Yusuf, Kwankwaso’s actions

The Masallacin Eid Shop Owners and Traders Association has petitioned Kano Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Usaini Gumel, seeking investigation into the ‘unlawful’ demolition of their shops by the state government.

Counsel for the association, Ma’ruf Muhammad Yakasai, said the formal complaint is based on “criminal conspiracy, theft, criminal misappropriation and mischief contrary to sections 97, 286, 308 and 326 of the penal code laws of Kano State respectively” against Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Abudullahi Baffa Bichi, Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf, Muhammad Diggol and others.

While briefing journalists on Thursday, Yakasai said, “Shortly before the 2023 gubernatorial election, some of the suspects, more particularly the leader of the ruling party NNPP, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso were heard and seen physically and over the media repeatedly stating unequivocally that if his party won the election, they would demolish all the structures and shops owned by our members at the Kofar Mata Eid-ground.

“NNPP emerged as the winner of the election, and His Excellency, Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, was sworn in as the Governor of Kano State on the 29th day of May, 2023. Unfortunately, even before cabinet members were nominated and appointed, Abba Kabir Yusuf, formed a committee with the sole responsibility of carrying out the demolition exercise.

“The 5th day of May, 2023 was the black day to the traders and owners of shops and thousands of people getting their means of livelihood in the area. At about 01:00 hours, after we all closed our shops and businesses, the democratically elected Government of Kano State, under the leadership of Engr. Abba Kabir Yusuf, without any notice or opportunity for our members to park their goods and other movable properties, with no iota of sympathy demolished the structures and shops in the area. Selfish individuals with criminal minds were also encouraged by the Government to loot our properties as the demolition was ongoing. They described our hard own properties as public properties and declared the same as free for all.

“The suspects succeeded in destroying all the structures, shops goods and monies (cash) kept in some shops, rendering the victims helpless, poor, jobless without any justification whatsoever. Some of the victims lost their lives, some are now patients with different sicknesses, including the killer ‘stroke’. The victims’ orphans and children are left with no parental care and attention, many are rendered homeless; poor or no education, medical care, because breadwinners are either dead or have lost their means of livelihood. The total estimated value of the properties lost and destroyed is N260 billion.”

He lamented that instead of receiving an apology from the state government, the government stated that it had no regret over the demolition exercise.

“He (referring to Kwankwaso) further described our wealth as useless and proudly confirmed that he has fulfilled the promise. He added that he would have destroyed the structures even if it is over 1,000 stories. We know as a fact that the government has the power to revoke any right of occupancy but only for overriding public interest. Also, a sufficient notice must be served and compensation paid before the revocation.

“These requirements were never satisfied by the government, no attempt was made whatsoever. It is also against the law to carry out such operations in the middle of the night.

“We the members of the association have suffered from psychological trauma as a result of the unlawful acts of the suspects either directly or indirectly, destruction and loss of their properties worth billions of Naira which were stolen in addition to loss of business and means of livelihoods.

“It is against the above background that we are appealing to your good offices to cause a criminal investigation to be conducted in this case with a view to ensuring that justice is done. We are asking your good offices to conduct a thorough criminal investigation into the matter, especially with respect to the offences against property and humanity, as some have passed on, some are sick as a result of the torture, the rich are now poor.

“We need the criminal aspect to be investigated and the guilty to face the full wrath of the law. We also urge your good self to consider and build on the judgment of the Federal High Court, Kano Division that described the action of the suspects as illegal, unconstitutional and barbaric.

“We are ready at the appropriate stage of the investigation to provide all the available evidence and records in our possession to support the allegations against the suspects. Please note further that the suspects have never denied the demolition.”

Of what benefit?

Asked on Monday what benefit this demand for criminal investigation will serve the traders who have already won a fundamental human rights enforcement case against the government, Yakasai specificaly told  NigerianSketch that criminal liability will serve a higher purpose of “forestalling future occurence. Since it was a deliberate act, paying compensation alone will not stop them. They may do it again with the belief that it will only take the payment of compensation. But criminal liability will halt such recklessness. That is our target.”


Share your thoughts on the story UNLAWFUL DEMOLITION: Kano traders seek criminal investigation into Gov Yusuf, Kwankwaso’s actions with NigerianSketch in the comments section.

Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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