The Kaduna State government has justified its demolition of a building belonging to a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The building located at 11b Sambo Road used by a faction of APC was demolished by the state government Monday morning.
The party since 2015 has been enmeshed in crisis in the state which has seen it broken into three factions.
They are: The ‘Restoration APC,’ led by Tijjani Ramallan and Suleiman Hunkuyi, a senator; the ‘APC Akida,’ led by Shehu Sani, also a senator, and the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Hakeem Ahmed; and the ‘APC Government House,’ led by the governor and his deputy.
News of the demolition first filtered in through tweets by the senator representing Kaduna North, Mr. Hunkuyi.
Mr. Hunkuyi, a leader of one of ‘Restoration APC,’ alleged that the demolition was masterminded by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
“In the early hours of today, the @GovKaduna Mallam @elrufai personally drove a bulldozer accompanied by armored tanks to destroy my house at 11B Sambo Road. This is a new low and fighting dirty with such low level of pettiness is indeed unprecedented in Kaduna State,” the account tweeted sharing short videos of the demolition.
But the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KAPSUDA) in a statement signed by its Director-General, Ibrahim Husseini, said the demolition was part of operations the agency was undertaking 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, a building on 11B Sambo Close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010. This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road,” the statement read.
The agency said it duly served the occupants of the building a notice of revocation which they did not yield to.
“The Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS) issued a revocation notice of the 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.”
KASUPDA said the land will be turned into a public park.
“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.”
The demolition is coming almost a year after a building belonging to the North West Vice Chairman of APC, Inuwa Abdulkadir, was demolished by the state government.
Mr. Abdulkadir told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the governor had sometimes back threatened to take such action against him.
“I am not surprised by his action, it is a political vendetta. But I will not make further comment because the case is already in court,” he said reacting to the demolition.
Meanwhile, the senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, said the demolition was masterminded by Mr. El-Rufai.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, he said that the governor was acting on the goodwill of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I stand to formally and officially report that this morning as early as 4:30am, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir-El-rufai, led a team of soldiers and policemen to Sambo road 11 where he personally supervised a demolition of our new APC office which happened to be the property belonging to Distinguished Sen. Suleiman Hukunyi.
“This comes a year after the same governor demolished the past residence of Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, the National Vice Chairman North-west of the APC. This is a series of the arbitrariness of tyranny perpetrated by the governor against dissenting opposition voices in the state.
“It is of concern that the Governor of the state is in the habit of name dropping the name of Mr. President. There are reports and claims that the Governor has been saying and has been acting with the authority and on behalf of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That his action has the official stamp and goes ahead of the president to eradicate and dislodge and at the same time being an end to opposing and dissenting voices within the party.
“My constituency office was attacked by violent thugs more than 11 times and it has also even been very clear that armed military police men have been consistently used by the governor to intimidate and harass people who don’t agree with him.
“It is of concern that after 20 years of military that a man with such a rapid ambition and arrogance of power can appropriate for himself and power to act outside of the law. How can a democratically-elected governor demolish a house without notice? Simply for the fact that we have set up office different form the one he has personalized himself as a so-called party man.”
He called on President Buhari to caution Mr. El-Rufai.
“It is of concern to us that these actions by the governor have been done in the name of Mr. President who he believed that he is his son that he so much loves. Governor Nasir El-Rufai is an affliction to the people of Kaduna State and a curse to us.
“We will use this opportunity to call on Mr. President to caution his beloved son who has unleashed a reign of terror and has behaved in the most despicable and irresponsible way.”