Traders at the recently demolished shopping malls around Kano Eid Ground are counting their losses as looters continue to ransack demolished property and others in the state.
This development is coming as the demolition of property the state government tagged illegally constructed on public spaces enters the third day.
Early on Monday, when government bulldozer brought down the shopping malls around the Kano Eid Ground, the exercise, which started on Saturday, brought down multi-billion naira properties at Race Course Playground, old Daula Hotel and the Hajj Camp.
The state governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, who said the demolition exercise was part of the fulfilment of his campaign promise to “restore” the urban development masterplan of the city, insisted that the exercise was not a vendetta against the past administration of Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and that more demolition would follow.
Daily Trust visited the site of the latest demolition at Kano Eid Ground on Monday and met traders lamenting that the exercise had exposed them to unimaginable losses.
While the demolition took place in the early hours of Monday, hundreds of youths and some elderly persons were seen around 3pm still looting the remaining structures.
They were removing iron rods, doors, windows and other valuables from the structures.
Many of the marketers and business owners that spoke to Daily Trust said it was painful watching looters cart away their goods and other fittings from their shops.
The demolished malls, according to them, consisted of over 200 shops with goods worth hundreds of millions said to have been lost.
The traders said they had to come out in the middle of the night to protect their shops and evacuate their goods but that the thieves did not allow most of them to do that.
Aminu Usman Gama, who sells plastics in the market, said he lost his entire capital of over N7 million which took him decades to raise.
“I was told that thugs were already in our market around 2am. When I came here I found that they broke the door and looted everything I have inside. This includes my money which I don’t even know the exact amount.
“I have a store on top of my shop, they also removed everything there. We are taken aback by this, I was in a temporary shop before, but after the structure was built I relocated here. They didn’t give us notice, they should have asked us to evacuate our goods and now we have lost everything. Hundreds of others are also affected,” he said.
Another trader, Shamsu Abdussalam, said he lost over N10 million to the demolition as he offloaded goods of over N5 million in his shop and store a few days before the demolition.
“I have two shops and a store upstairs, but everything was looted at midnight. I have an investment of over N10 million inside. They watched the thugs loot our belongings,” he said.
Umar Abdulmumin said although he lost goods totalling less than N1 million to the incident, he had to pay some thugs to barricade his shops against others who broke into shops and loot the goods.
He said, “They had opened one of the shops, but I was lucky I arrived before they looted everything. When I came I hired some of them and paid them to look after my shops, and I also stayed with them.”
Abdulmumin said many other marketers also used the same tactic to prevent losing all their goods.
The marketers lamented that many people will lose their jobs as thousands of people are said to be earning a living directly or indirectly from the market.
However, none of the developers was around to tell our reporter their loss in the demolition as some of them didn’t even go to the market on hearing of the exercise.
“Some of them were here and they just watched and went, while some didn’t even come. I know of only one person that removed his doors and roofing sheet,” a car wash owner in the park said.
He added that some places were not even touched by the demolition team but the thugs invaded and destroyed the structures just to steal valuables.
Daily Trust reports that theft has increased in the last few days in the state with many residents lamenting that hoodlums have been invading their neighbourhoods to steal their property.
At Airport Road by Rochas Foundation, iron rods used in holding canopies were stolen early Sunday morning, it was gathered.
“They most likely came around 3am and cut the iron. Although we have security guards on the street, but you know the street is long, so, the criminals must have targeted the movement of the guards. I noticed the space where the iron rods used to be to be empty around 5am when I came out to pray,” a trader in the area, Abdullahi Sulaiman, said.
He expressed worry that cases of theft have increased in the last few days, adding “It’s either phone snatchers on the road or criminals come into your house and steal anything they can see.”
At the Yankaba area of Hadejia Road, a resident said since Friday, thieves have visited their area every day and “they even removed the iron burglary we used to protect our pumping machine and the long iron rod inside.”
Meanwhile, the governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sunusi Bature, has issued a marching order to the police to check the activities of “scavengers who are trying to destroy public properties in the name of evacuating the debris of some buildings pulled down by the state government in the on-going demolition of illegal structures approved by the immediate past administration in the state.”
When contacted on the losses the traders said they have recorded and whether or not the state government was considering compensation for them, Bature declined to comment.
Yusuf, Ganduje bicker over sale of paediatric hospital
In a related development, the state governor said he has “revoked with immediate effect the sale of Hasiya Bayero Paediatric Hospital and the governor’s lodge located at Kwankwasiyya City.”
The governor further directed the immediate renovation of the health facility and its reversal to its operations as a specialist hospital for children.
But the state’s former Commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs, Mohammad Garba, in a statement issued on behalf of the former governor, Umar Ganduje, denied selling the hospital.
He said, “Hospital services at the facility were temporarily suspended following its relocation after the completion of Khalifa Sheikh Isyaka Rabiu Paediatric Hospital – one of the abandoned facilities inherited by the Ganduje administration.”
He added that the old Hasiya Bayero building was proposed to be converted to a Malnutrition Treatment Centre, adding that the building remained a property of the state government and could not have been sold to any individual as being portrayed.
From Clement A. Oloyede & Zahraddeen Y. Shuaibu (Kano)