• Governor Yusuf goes to war in Kano
From Desmond Mgboh, Kano
It was not in doubt that the Governor of Kano State, Abba Kabiru Yusuf and his predecessor, Abdullahi Ganduje were foes and not friends. They represented two political tendencies battling for the soul of the state in the past eight years.
Against this backdrop, many had expected the new governor to demonstrate some of this rivalry upon assumption of power on May 29, 2023. What nobody saw coming was the gravity of the governor’s anger, which has been shaking the state like a volcanic eruption.
In the last few days, the governor has done so much. In the middle of the night and in a military styled fashion, he unsettled the joy and peace of mind of his rivals. He ordered and personally supervised the demolition of a number of high profile buildings in the metropolis.
Among these, linked to the past administration, was a 90-shop, three-storey property at Race Course, Filin-Saukuwa, Nassarawa Local Government. The operation occurred at about 2.00 on Saturday morning.
Next was Daula Hotel building complex, Hadejia Road, Kano. In just a few hours, the building was pulled down by government bulldozers. The carcass of the structure was left unguarded to hustlers and thieves to sell the pick out the irons and sell.
Another structure that came down was at the Pilgrims Camp on Katsina Road. The governor had earlier warned the contractors to halt construction. It was surprising when it was brought down just like the Daula Hotel building.
Another building that collapsed to the state government’s bulldozers was a shopping mall on Kano Eid ground inside the city. It was demolished on Monday morning on the order of the governor. According to the traders, the shopping mall had over 200 shops, adding that at the time of its demolition, the shops were stocked up with goods worth hundreds of millions of naira.
A shopping mall at the old Triumph Complex, Fagge area of the metropolis was not marked for demolition. But deviant youths in the area raided the mull, broke into shops and made away with various items worth millions of naira before police arrived.
Grounds for the demolition
Government explained that the affected buildings were demolished in fulfilment of its campaign promise to restore the urban development master plan of the city. Government had earlier accused Ganduje administration of selling public lands to cronies while it frowned at the development of property on public spaces.
As governor-elect, Yusuf had issued series of advisory objecting to the erection of structures on public spaces. He charged individuals, groups and organisations to discontinue on-going constructions within and around the premises of schools, religious and cultural sites, hospitals and graveyards as well along the city walls and public buildings. He warned that anybody who contravened his advisory was doing so on his or her own peril.
Traders, investors count losses
The affected traders and developers, property owners are already counting their losses. At the Eid ground, a trader, Mallam Idi, told Daily Sun that he lost millions of naira as a result of the exercise.
He feared that he might be unable to recover from the consequences of the action. He prayed for Allah’s intervention.
Another trader, who pleaded anonymity, said they were woken up from sleep in the middle of the night, only to come face-to-face with the thieves carting away their property with no serious security arrangement to stop them. He believed that they would go to court to get compensation for their losses.
LAMASH Properties, the firm redeveloping the demolished Daula Hotel, instructed its lawyers to institute a N10 billion suit against government. It said the action was also to stop government from taking further action that would negatively affect the Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement they entered with government.
It said: “Contrary to the account of government, we did not purchase the land of Daula Hotel. Rather, it was made available to us as part of the equity of government in the project.
“At no time did government or any of its officials notify us or invite us for clarification on the project. By doing so, they breached the globally acceptable principle of fair hearing.
“We were invited by Ganduje in late 2020 to bid for the redevelopment of Daula Hotel under PPP, and we submitted a bid for the three components. The bid went through all the processes, including the State Executive Council.
“We were issued a letter of award and we signed a PPP contract agreement with the after which we began work on the project.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC), implored victims to seek redress in court, describing the action of government as nothing but barbaric.
Its acting chairman, Shehu Maiagari Makaddashin, said: “The action has brought unnecessary chaos, rampant vandalism, daylight robbery and grabbing of property belonging to innocent citizens.
“The demolition has destroyed the means of livelihood of the people.
It has tarnished the reputation of the state as a safe commercial hub for investment.”
A former governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, appealed for restraint. He urged the governor to focus his on his mandate of providing good leadership.”