Alhaji Musa Usman, popularly known as Musa Maraban Jos, was seen searching through the debris of his house at a community in Kawo, a day after a demolition was carried out by bulldozers from the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA).
Looking visibly distressed, yet maintaining a sense of calm, he explained how his house was brought down before his eyes for reasons he couldn’t comprehend.
His family members and neighbours were also seen retrieving some of their belongings buried beneath the rubble.
Musa, dressed in a white kaftan and a cap, said he was inside his room at around 3: am when he heard voices outside the house.
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He peeked through the window to ascertain the source of the commotion in the middle of the night.
“Immediately upon peeping, I noticed people standing in the darkness. Since I was awake at that time, they asked me to come out, and I complied. One of them informed me that they had come to demolish the house, to which I simply replied, ‘Okay.’
“He then instructed me to go inside and retrieve any valuable item I needed, for which I expressed gratitude. I swiftly went back inside and managed to salvage a few things before the house was demolished,” he said.
Musa said his family currently had nowhere else to stay. And that he was not informed of any wrongdoing or given a reason for the demolition. He said he planned to pursue legal recourse in a court of law.
“I refuse to let this slide because we have done nothing wrong. I will ensure that I seek legal redress. Those responsible for the demolition should understand that they, too, have children,” he asserted.
Similarly, Malam Sule Bala had his house demolished in Badarawa, Kaduna. The house was also demolished without prior notice.
As a family man with over 20 children, every section of his house dedicated to the children was destroyed.
It was observed that the house also housed an Islamic school, and all its structures were demolished.
Hussaini Sule, his son, recounted that they were sleeping in their rooms when the bulldozers, accompanied by security agencies, arrived at their house. Without wasting any time, a portion of the house was swiftly brought down.
Hussaini, along with his siblings and parents, was also seen retrieving their belongings from the demolished section of the building.
Madarasatul Faudiya, Maraban Jos, suffered the same fate and was completely demolished by the officials of KASUPDA on the same Sunday night.
Umar Abdullahi, the head teacher, said he was at loss as to the reason the school’s structures were demolished, adding that they possessed all the necessary documents.
He stated that they were never informed that the school was marked for demolition, as they believed it was constructed in compliance with legal requirements.
Daily Trust gathered that two schools and a clinic were demolished in Rigasa, Madarasatus Faudiya was destroyed in Maraban Jos, one school was demolished in Layin Kosai Street, Tudun Wada, a house was demolished in Badarawa, and another house in Kawo.
It was discovered that all the demolished structures belonged to members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), including the two private houses because the state government claimed the IMN was a proscribed group.
In addition, there were reports of planned demolitions of houses in the Gbagy villa community, which residents vehemently opposed. Other structures earmarked for demolition were located in the Danbushiya community, and other parts of the metropolis.
Leaders of the Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky-led Shi’ites group, otherwise known as Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), alleged that there was a plan by the state governor to demolish 48 structures belonging to the movement across the state.
IMN leader, Yunusa Lawal, said at a news briefing that the planned demolition was not only illegal, but vindictive, as the only reason given by the government was that IMN has been banned.
Lawal said though the Islamic Movement was yet to receive any notice of demolition from the government or any of its agencies, it stumbled on a leaked memo, where the Director General of KASUPDA was seeking approval of the governor to carry out the demolition.
“It is, therefore, disheartening to observe that the main purpose of this demolition exercise is to again subjugate and oppress members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. We view this as an act of provocation and suppression that is tantamount to the infringement of our fundamental human rights as citizens and indigenes of Kaduna State,” he said.
Similarly the state governor has revoked the Right of Occupancy of nine companies belonging to a former governor, Senator Ahmed Muhammed Makarfi.
The affected properties have also been slated for demolition.
The official notice of revocation was addressed to the Director of Cane Properties, Alhaji Ibrahim Makarfi.
In his reaction, Makarfi said: “Our lawyers will respond accordingly to the revocation and withdrawal of Right of Occupancy of the companies.”
Governor sacks 2 traditional rulers
Governor El-rufa’i’s last minute… did not spare some officials of the state government. Just two days ago he ordered the removal of the traditional rulers of Piriga and Arak chiefdoms, Chief Jonathan Paragua Zamuna and General Aliyu Iliyah Yammah, respectively.
In a statement, the Commissioner for Local Government, Hajiya Umma K. Ahmad, said two traditional rulers have been removed with effect from May 22, 2023.
She said the depositions were based on recommendations from the Ministry of Local Government, under the provisions of Section 11 of the Traditional Institutions Law No. 21 of 2021.
The commissioner said government was not satisfied with the response of HH General Iliyah Yammah to a query sent to him to explain his appointment of four district heads, which contradicted the approved number for his chiefdom. Additionally, his non-residence within Arak Chiefdom was considered.
She said Chief Zamuna’s deposition was a result of recent communal clashes between the Gure and Kitimi communities of Piriga Chiefdom in Lere LGA and his non-residence within the chiefdom.
In addition to the depositions, the statement announced the immediate disengagement of the village heads of Aban, Abujan Mada, and Anjil in Arak Chiefdom.
Governor vows to act until May 29
During a recent book launch, the governor reaffirmed his commitment to demolish illegal structures and sacking of corrupt officials until the final moments of his tenure.
“We will take action against any wrongdoing we uncover, ensuring that the next governor does not have to deal with these issues again. Watch closely until the eleventh hour of our time in office, as we will persist in removing corrupt individuals and eradicating improper practices,” El-rufai declared.
In response to the demolitions, the Public Relations Officer of KASUPDA, Nuhu Garba, said only illegal structures without proper documentation or encroachments on land were targeted for demolition.
He emphasised that the agency’s focus was on ensuring compliance with building rules and regulations within the state. Garba denied allegations of targeting specific groups or individuals. “We are only concerned with houses built without proper documents or building permits, regardless of the owners. If you have the appropriate documents, you have nothing to worry about,” he said.
Residents lament government’s action
Many residents questioned the timing of the governor’s decision to demolish houses just days before leaving office.
Salisu Suleiman said he was not happy with the development. “It’s disheartening to witness what the governor is doing just a few days before leaving office. Why are there so many demolitions happening across the state? He should complete his tenure and peacefully exit,” he said.
Another resident who preferred to remain anonymous remarked, “It seems like the outgoing governor enjoys seeing people suffer; otherwise, why would he embark on these demolitions? It’s not the appropriate course of action at this time.”
A resident of Gbagi villa, identified as Philemon, described the last-minute demolitions by the governor as deeply distressing.
He revealed that since news of the government’s plans to demolish houses in the community broke out, they have been unable to sleep peacefully.
“We and our wives are unable to sleep peacefully because we constantly remain outside, defending our homes, so as not to be caught off guard,” he shared.
He said a section of a warehouse in the community was demolished and a portion of Alheri Baptist Church was affected before the youths rose to challenge the demolitions.
Philemon appealed to the federal government to intervene by urging the state government to halt the demolition plans.
As the state governor’s tenure is set to end in just five days, residents are left wondering how many more houses will be demolished and how many more traditional chiefs will be deposed in the state.
There is a sense of anticipation among the people that the incoming governor, Senator Uba Sani, will address and manage the controversies created by the outgoing governor.