•Accused property owner of ground rent debt
Sola Ojo, Noah Ebije, Kaduna; Fred Itua, Abuja
Kaduna State Government, in a fierce move, yesterday, demolished the secretariat of an All Progressive Congress (APC) faction in the state.
The property, Daily Sun learnt belongs to the senator representing Kaduna North, Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, who had in recent times opposed the government of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
In May 2017, property of Deputy National Chairman (Northwest) Inuwa Abdul Kadri was also demolished.
The property, located at 11B Sambo Road and a stone-throw from Kaduna State House of Assembly was, last week, branded as factional secretariat of APC, which suspended the governor for six months over what it called “anti-party activities.”
But, in a swift reaction, Director General of Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), Ibrahim Husseini said demolition of the property was apolitical.
He insisted Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KAPSUDA) is currently undertaking operations across Kaduna metropolis, in compliance with its mandate.
Eyewitnesses said the demolition was carried out under tight supervision of armed soldiers around 5:00 am, yesterday.
“The bulldozer was accompanied by armed soldiers who blocked both sides of the road leading to the building around 5:00 am, ordered those who were inside to vacate the building before demolition,” a source who declined to be named, said.
However, a senior government official who, also, did not want to be named, insisted the demolition was carried out by KASUPDA.
He said the property was allocated for residential purposes and not for political activities.
Reacting to the demolition through his twitter handle, senator Hunkuyi said the action showed that the governor could not stand political pressure.
The senator had, few weeks back, donated the personal house as the secretariat of APC faction which did not go down well with the APC loyal to the state government.
Hunkuyi further explained: “This is also the same way Mallam El Rufai destroyed the house of the APC Deputy National Chairman Northwest, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir months back, which tells you that the governor is reckless, petty and can’t stand political pressure.”
Regardless, few hours after the demolition, KADGIS Director General, Ibrahim Husseini, said no ground rent was paid on Hunkuyi’s house since 2010.
Husseini said: “KAPSUDA is undertaking operations across Kaduna metropolis, in compliance with its mandate.
“In partnership with sister agencies, KASUPDA is clearing illegal structures, tackling street hawking and restoring order across Kaduna.
“This morning (yesterday), a building on 11B, Sambo Close, was removed for flagrant violation of Land Use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010.
This illegal violation of land use Act had caused problem for the neighbours who were being forced to endure influx of thugs and blockage of the road.
“KADGIS issued a revocation notice of statutory right of occupancy No. KD. 16712 that covers 11B, Sambo Close, in the Ungwan Rimi area. The appropriate notice of revocation was delivered at 28 Inuwa Wada Road, the registered address of the company that held the title to the property. The notice was also delivered to the building in question, and sent by post to the registered address of the previous title holder.
“The land has now been allocated to KASUPDA for the purpose of developing and maintaining a public park that will provide a green area and a serene place for recreation in that residential neighbourhood.
“KADGIS wishes to remind all title owners to be fastidious in complying with the terms of their allocation.
“The purpose of allocation of land cannot be wilfully altered; neither can title holders lawfully neglect to pay their ground rents.
“Since 2016, the state government has been taking action on various land related matters, including revoking all undeveloped land titles in the state and directed that all abandoned buildings be developed within three months of the notice.
“KADGIS, as the government agency charged with ultimate responsibility on land matters in Kaduna state, calls for the utmost cooperation by the public with all our agencies.”
Meanwhile, Senate has condemned what it described as “executive rascality and abuse of immunity by state governors.
The chamber warned politicians not to overheat the polity as the country prepares for the 2019 general elections.
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at yesterday’s plenary, said Nigeria’s democracy has no place for tyranny and impunity.
He insisted that the rule of law must be followed by elected public office holders, especially those at the executive level.
Reacting to a point of order raised by Senator Shehu Sani, from Kaduna State, to condemn the demolition Hunkuyi’s house, Ekweremadu said Nigerians are opposed to immunity for the president and governors because of abuse of power.
Ekweremadu said: “This is not open to debate. We need to condemn this action. I send my sympathies to Hunkuyi. This democracy has no place for tyranny and impunity. If we decide to go on the road of democracy, we must accept some of the things that come with it. One is the rule of law. If we have any grievances, we should use the courts.
“This is why some Nigerians are opposed to the issue of immunity for public office holders. I think this is something we need to watch. As we approach 2019, we must appeal to politicians not to overheat the polity and imperil our democracy.
“I hope this should be the last. Our courts can be trusted to deliver justice…”