Kaduna state Government on Tuesday made a U-turn from its earlier statement which justified the demolition of the building housing Asher Kings and Queens restaurant as the alleged venue for a botched sex party in the state.
The government said the building was brought down for its illegal status stressing that, “checks of government records show that the building housing Asher restaurant had neither a valid title nor development permit.”
Kaduna State Urban Development and Planning Authority (KASUPDA) which demolished the building on December 31st 2020 accepted that the earlier statement it issued through its Twitter handle was inaccurate.
Daily Trust reports that KASUPDA had in an attempt to justify its demolition of the building stated via its Twitter handle on January 1st 2021 that Governor Nasir El-Rufai had ordered the arrest of the suspects in the alleged sex party saga and directed KASUPDA to demolish the alleged venue.
However, KASUPDA Director General, Ismail Umaru Dikko while reading a speech before selected journalists on Tuesday said: “Since this enforcement action, much of the commentary on the matter has centered on the inaccurate statements from KASUPDA’s Twitter account. While regretting the inaccuracy, of the handler of our social media count, there is no reservation about steps taken pursuant to enforce the laws and regulations of Kaduna state on property that was in violation of its provisions.”
Dikko said as soon as due diligence revealed the illegal status of the building, there was need for enforcement action without the notification requirements that the law compels for holders of valid title and development permits.
The DG’s statement on notice backs the stands of the CEO of Asher Kings and Queens Restaurant, Aisha Mercy Yakubu who said no notice was given before the demolition exercise which cost her over N32 million.
KASUPDA DG while reading his statement insisted that the illegal status of the building was a separate matter from the trigger event which was the planned and advertised unlawful gathering.
He said violations of a set of rules and regulations may lead to a focus on the status of compliance with other laws and regulations adding that: “By virtue of various land administration and development control initiatives conceived and implemented in the last five years, there is no excuse for anyone in Kaduna State to remain without valid title to their property and permits for any development thereon.”
“Residents that have taken advantage of this opportunity have thereby been assisted to vest their property with legal status. Those who have chosen to remain in violation and have shunned opportunities to regularise their status cannot argue from sentiment when enforcement actions are taken,” he said.
He said even though there are many properties in the state without the necessary documentation, KASUPDA does not have the staff strength to undertake enforcement action on all of them but stressed that those whose cases come to the agency’s attention and are found not to have the necessary papers cannot expect inaction.