Kwankwaso loyalist knocks Kano gov, court stops demolitions

The  Federal High Court in Kano has restrained the Kano State Governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, from further demolishing structures and property in the state.

Justice S.A. Amobeda made the order following an ex parte motion taken before him by a lawyer and Kano indigene, Saminu Muhammad.

Specifically, the court, in a ruling on Friday, stopped the governor and his agents from going ahead with the planned demolition along BUK Road, including properties on Nos. 41 and 43 Salanta.

The judge restrained “the respondents by themselves, agents, servants or proxies whatsoever called, from encroaching, trespassing, entering, invading, demolishing, or revoking the applicant’s titles or doing any other act in respect of the applicant’s property, No. 41 and 43 situate at Salanta, along BUK road, Kano, covered by Certificate of Occupancy, No. KNMLO8228 and Certificate of Occupancy No. KNMLO8229, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.”

The judge ordered the service of the order on the respondents.

Listed as respondents in the suit are the Attorney General of Kano State, the Solicitor General of Kano State, the Governor of Kano State, the Kano State government, and the Kano State Bureau For Land Management.

Others are the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority, Inspector-General of Police, Nigeria Police Force, Commissioner of Police, Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The matter was adjourned till July 10 for further proceedings.

Meanwhile, an ardent supporter of the Kwankwasiyya Movement in Kano, a critical component of the New Nigeria People’s Party in Kano, Sanusi Balarabe, has lamented the ongoing demolitions of properties by the Yusuf government, describing the exercise as unreasonable and uncalled for.

Speaking in Hausa in a viral YouTube video, Balarabe admitted to being a diehard Kwankwasiyya adherent with his entire family but regretted, however, that they did not vote for the Yusuf government to demolish properties in the state.

He said they believed in the Kwankwasiyya movement because, in the past, its leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, had performed creditably well, which was why they voted for the NNPP.

“In all honesty, none of us voted for the government knowing it will carry out these demolitions. It is wastage to demolish properties indiscriminately and therefore outright unreasonable and condemnable,” Balarabe, leader of the Mu Hadu Mu Gyara group said in the video.”

He regretted that all the shops being demolished belonged to Kano traders and not foreigners.

“Even if they were owned by foreigners, at least they are human beings with entitlements, they improve the revenue base of the state by paying taxes to government which makes it a huge wastage to demolish ordinarily productive assets.

“If for instance, each owner of a demolished shop was to pay just N1,000 in taxation to the government, it would sum up to a huge amount, which could be useful to the state,” Balarabe said.

He noted that the shops would have been put to better use if they were taken over by the government and reallocated to the less privileged at reasonably affordable rates rather than putting them to waste.

“If for instance, a small-scale trader who cannot afford N1m rent for a shop at Kasuwan Kwari was to be allocated a plot in these targeted locations for like N100,000 it would be far better than demolishing them which is nothing but waste,” he said.

Reacting to government claims that the structures being demolished were illegally erected, Balarabe said even at that, due process must have to be diligently followed by first setting up a commission of inquiry and other processes.

“It is a gross mistake and blatant abuse of power for the government to embark on such destruction without recourse to legal processes and it will be setting the wrong example to use a wrong to correct another wrong.

“At my level, I will advise the governor to suspend the demolitions, concentrate on the major assignment we voted for, improve infrastructure, get job opportunities for the people, and remind him that a lot of otherwise productive individuals are being sent out of jobs by this action which is clearly vindictive. He should not allow personal political sentiment to overshadow his sense of responsibility,” he said.