Outrage as El-Rufai pulls down senator’s building

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai was at the centre of a controversy yesterday.

Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi accused him of personally supervising the demolition of his property used as the secretariat of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna.

The APC’s “Restoration” group promoted by the senator last Thursday queried El-Rufai and suspended three of his aides, including Special Adviser on Political Matters Uba Sani and Commissioner for Finance Suleiman Kwaru, for similar offences

The Hunkuyi-led faction suspended El-Rufai for six months, for “failing to reply to the query” three days after it was issued.

Hunkuyi yesterday accused the governor of fighting dirty by demolishing the faction’s secretariat of the APC at 11B Sambo Road, Kaduna.

The fenced duplex was demolished in the early hours at (about 5am) by the agencies of the state government.

The fence was levelled and the building pulled down. The vehicles parked in the compound were unaffected.

Director General of Kaduna Geographic Information System (KADGIS) Ibrahim Husseini, in a statement, said the building was removed by the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Developing Agency (KASAUDA) for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010.

Hunkuyi, reacting to the demolition on his official twitter handle, said:

“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.

“It is on record that few months back, @GovKaduna Mallam @elrufai marked another property of mine in Hunkuyi town for demolition but residents of the area prevented the officials from demolishing it. Today, he came well prepared with military men to destroy my house at Sambo Road.

“This is also the same way Mallam @elrufai destroyed the house of the APC Dep National Chairman Northwest, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir months back, which tells you that the governor is reckless, petty & can’t stand political pressure, without resorting to being a ruthless dictator.”

But the KADGIS boss said: “The Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KAPSUDA) is currently undertaking operations across Kaduna metropolis 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 Kaduna Geographic Information Service (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 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.”

The chairman of the Hunkuyi’s faction Alhaji Danladi Wada, urged Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai to immediately remove the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Mechanised Nigerian Army, Major-General Muhammad Muhammad for his alleged involvement in partisan politics.

Wada, who spoke through the Director of Administration, Yahaya Shinko, at a news conference at the demolished secretariat, also said the reason advanced by the government for the demolition of the building was untenable before the law.

He said: “It is no longer news that today 20th February, 2018 at around 4am, the governor accompanied by heavily armed soldiers believed to be from 1 Division Nigerian Army, stormed the new secretariat and carried out the dastardly act.

“The reason advanced by the government in the statement issued by the Director General Kaduna Geographical information Service that the demolition was necessary as a result of default by the owner of the property, Distinguished Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi to pay ground rent for a period of eight years, is untenable before the law and hereby condemned in strong terms.”

“But we know that, the offence of the lawmaker, his supporters and all other members of the APC with them in this secretariat is aligning ourselves with the position of the National Headquarters and of the party to the effect that Danladi Wada is the recognized Deputy Chairman of the APC in Kaduna State and stands as the Acting Chairman until a substantive Chairman emerges at the next state congress of the party.

He praised Commissioner of Police Autin Iwar for “refusing to compromise to allow his officers and men to be used as political tools in the hands of the governor to silence oppositions in the state”.

The El-Rufai administration on April 6, 2017, ordered the agency to demolish the Kaduna residence of Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, the party’s North-West Vice Chairman.

KASUPDA officials who demolished the Zonal Chairman’s house at 29, Yakubu Avenue, alleged that the structure was erected in violation of the state development plan.