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Kano gov-elect’s advisory put real estate on edge

Thirty five days to May 29 when new governments would be sworn in across the country, the property market in Kano State has been put…

Thirty five days to May 29 when new governments would be sworn in across the country, the property market in Kano State has been put on edge following the advisory issued by the state’s governor-elect, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf, who advised that anybody currently building a structure in places owned by the state government should stop.

The development has brought fear and anxiety, especially among the owners as to what will be their fate when Yusuf takes over governance of the state.

This is the situation in many parts of Kano city, as there are hundreds of structures coming up or already in existence in many places owned by the state government. While the developers are worried about their wealth invested in building these structures, tenants in some of the completed structures are also worried as they may lose their customers.

“We received the advisory from the governor-elect. But we don’t know what will happen. They said those that are building should stop. But what about we that are already running businesses in some of these places? We get used to the place and our businesses are well established with hundreds of people earning a living. If we have to leave this place, many people will lose their jobs,” Yakubu Umar, owner of a shop in the popular Eid prayer ground in Kwari market, said.

Daily Trust gathered that the present administration of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje introduced a new policy of selling some of the state government property to the general public to invest in either businesses or enterprises across the city area.

Although it is not clear why the state government sold the properties, it was gathered that not all the places were sold. Some of them were discovered to have been leased, some allocated to people, while others are on a Public Private Partnership (PPP), with an agreement that the full structures would return to the government in future.

Some of the places sold out include perimeter fences of some public schools, graveyards, mosques, courts, hospitals, streets in some markets, motor parks, and the historic wall fence surrounding Kano city, known as Badala. In some of the sold-out structures, developers have already finished their work and are put in use. On the other hand, some are under construction with very few that are yet to commence.

The most notable among them are Badala along BUK road, Eid ground close to Kwari market, Malam Kato Square Motor Park, Daula Hotel, streets in Kwari and Wambai markets among others.

However, immediately after he had received his certificate of return as the new elected governor of the state, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf issued an advisory to the people, especially those that own such places that were bought off from the state government that they should stop their construction with immediate effect in order to avoid loss.

“The Kano State governor-elect, His Excellency, Engr Abba Kabir Yusuf, has directed that this public advisory be issued to all individuals, groups, and other organisations that have ongoing construction in public places viz:

“You are advised to discontinue any construction work on public land within and around the following: All schools in the state, all religious and cultural sites in the state, all hospitals in the state, all graveyards in the state, and along the city walls of Kano.

“You are also advised to discontinue the demolition of, and the construction on, all existing public buildings belonging to the government and people of Kano State. This advisory is issued in the public interest, effective from today; Thursday, 30th March, 2023 till further notice. Any contravener does so at his/her own risk, please,” the elected governor said through his spokesman, Sanusi Bature Dawkintofa.

Following this advisory by the governor-elect, people begin to think of the possible future of the places. Though he didn’t promise to demolish the buildings, people said it is clear that the new government will not let the structures be, even though some of them are already in use.

A developer in Kano, Engr Shehu Usman, said considering his godfather, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the governor-elect simply means he will repeat what his boss did when he returned as the governor of the state in 2015.

“Some of these places are good because they are sold and put to use. I didn’t say all and I am not supporting them. But places like the wall fence that surrounds Kano have nothing to do for the state. Instead, thugs were taking advantage to conduct criminal activities.

“But for places that are useful like courts, hospitals and graveyards, those ones can be removed, especially the congestion in markets and some schools.”

Some of the owners of these places worry as the new government, if it decides to demolish their structures, will not affect the present government but the business environment of the state, with some of them saying it will lead to backwardness in the sector.

“Some of these places have already developed and housed thousands of businesses. Places like Masallacin Idi should not be demolished because already the market needs to be expanded. Likewise all other places that were not in use before,” Engr Shehu said.

Zainuddin Ishak owns a plot of land along the wall fence of Kano (Badala); he said although he purchased it with his hard earned money, he has already given up and is waiting to see what will happen, as he hasn’t started building the structure and will not until the new government takes over.

“Since the announcement of the new governor, I said to myself that I have lost this one. But we will wait and see. This place is normally occupied by thugs and there is nothing you can do to prevent that other than to allocate it for building of structures,” he said.

A developer and close friend to one of the people that purchased some of the biggest government places in the state, who chose not to be named, said his friend invested over N1 billion in some of the places sold by the state government and that he has the largest share in the recent Malam Kato Square Motor Park that was sold.

He said if the incoming government will demolish and confiscate all the structures that were sold by this administration then it will cause a serious challenge to the owners as the government no longer has a hand in it.

“If this is really what they will do, it will cripple some businesses especially considering the fact that there are documents that are backing the owners. To some extent they will end in court with them because some were even approved by the state assembly. Like in the case of the Masallacin Idi (Eid Ground), the Kano emirate is also involved, so they have backing by law.

“Presently we are working on one of these places that were purchased at hundreds of millions, and this place has documents and all the legal backing. We are about 70 per cent done with the construction. How do you think it will end? For the whole period, the owner is tense and worried.”

Schools’ corner shops on PPP arrangement — KNUPDA

Although some secondary and primary schools were also affected in the process, the state government said the Parent-Teacher Associations and management requested that shops should be constructed for renovating the schools and also to get money that will be used in running the schools.

In a recent tour to some of the corner shops and schools, Managing Director of the Kano Urban Planning Development Authority (KNUPDA), Arch. Sulaiman Abdulwahab, said the shops are constructed under Public Private Partnership (PPP) with agreement of 25 per cent allocation to the schools, and that after 30 years, the shops will eventually belong to the schools.

“In any school that we allocated the corner shops, you will find that a renovation and new construction of classes are ongoing. Apart from that, the school also has a 25 per cent share of the rent fee, and after 30 years, they will become property of the school. That will give them a chance to become independent and not to rely on the government,” he said.

Similarly, developers of another government place that was sold, Triumph Publishing Company in Fagge, now converted to Wapa BDC market, Lamash Properties Limited, said part of the agreement is to relocate the company and provide well-furnished structure for them, as well as to give the government 25 per cent share of the shops constructed.

An official of the Lamash Properties Limited, Hadiza Abdulkadir, said while handing over the government share, that clause 7 in page 3 of the development agreement stipulates that the state government “shall be entitled to receive N1.04 billion worth of shops, comprising N500m value of the land contributed to the project and N530.8 million, representing 25% profit share.”

All eyes are now on the date and time of the swearing-in of the governor-elect to see what will happen and how the matter can be addressed.

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