Sunday, July 24, 2016

El-Rufai To Demolish 40 Churches, 3500 Houses, 16 Schools

A large crowd of residents of Gbagyi Villa – a suburb of Kaduna metropolis – on March 17, trooped out, carrying placards in protest against demolition notices issued to them by Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority, KASUPDA.
The residents said they had been living in the community for decades and had acquired the necessary titles to the lands and, as such, were jolted by the intention of Kaduna State government to eject them.
Mr. Chris Obodum, Chairman, Gbagyi Community, later told journalists that the community boasted of about 3,500 buildings, 40 churches, 16 schools and 35,000 residents. He narrated: ‘The story of Gbagyi Villa is easy to understand. For hundreds of years, the area has been inhabited by the Gbagyi people. However, sometime in 2010, a suit was instituted against some members of the local community by Kaduna Polytechnic. In the course of the court proceedings, the polytechnic sought for settlement out of court. The court obliged and the matter was settled amicably.
Fielding questions from journalists, El-Rufai said: “This is a tragedy, because on the one hand, Kaduna Polytechnic got the allocation of this land, nearly 40 years ago for the purpose of establishing Mining Engineering School and subsequently a College of Environmental Studies. And not only the polytechnic would have benefited, but Kaduna state and the country.
“Unfortunately, as things stands today, according to the Rector, nearly 70 percent of the land has been encroached upon by illegal squatters. These buildings would have to go. We do not condone illegality in this state “And in Kaduna State, you cannot hide behind religion or tribe to break the law and get away with it. We will go through due process; we will give everybody due process to find out if he or she has title to the land and permission to build. If you don’t have the two, the law will apply and we will take your building down.
“It is unfortunate that some people have been deceived into thinking that this land is available for sale. It is unfortunate, and in our system, we are going to investigate all those involved in this deception and they will be dealt with. “Having said that, the law will prevail, and ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It is very unfortunate that many thousands will lose millions of life-savings for building illegally.
“My call to all people of Kaduna State is that before you start any building, get a Certificate of Occupancy and ensure you have the approval of KASUPDA to build. If you don’t have these two, your building is at risk. “The point here is that the law has been broken, and as the executive arm of government, our duty is to enforce. I don’t know any other thing, than upholding my mandate and enforcing the law.
“Going to court has very little to do with breaking the law. When you break the law, you can’t go to court and withhold action. This is a criminal conduct. The case in court is a civil matter. “You cannot steal from the state and go to court and say, ‘stop, don’t prosecute me for stealing’. They are two separate matters. We shall look into it. The rule of law must apply and we must all obey the law to be safe. This is what everyone should understand. “This is Kaduna State land allocated to the Federal Government. It is our job to ensure that Kaduna Polytechnic has its full title”.

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