There was public outcry following the demolition of over 100 shops at Dangi Flyover and underpass being constructed by the Kano state government, in which some businessmen alleged that their shops were demolished without any form of compensation.
The shops were built based on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement which would last for a period of 20years.
Some developers were consulted by the Islamic Foundation, a non-governmental organization, to develop a piece of land belonging to the foundation for the purpose of sustaining the Umar bin Al-Kattab Mosque at Dangi Roundabout, Zaria road Kano.
However, due to the underpass/flyover construction, the state government considered it necessary to use part of the land, based on which it agreed to compensate both developers and the Islamic Foundation in order to take possession of the land.
But on Friday November 15, 2019, the State Commissioner for works allegedly spearheaded the demolition of the shops despite the fact that the compensation was yet to be paid to the owners of the properties.
One of the developers who didn’t want his name mentioned told Daily Trust that “on Monday, November 18, 2019, our attention was drawn that our shops were set for demolition, so we should rush and see what we can do to evacuate our belongings from them.
“When I reached the site I discovered that some armed policemen were at the scene and hundreds of thugs who were also carrying different kind of weapons were saying that government had already paid everybody and whatever was remain there is like a booty.”
He alleged that they had to bribe the police to give them protection against the thugs for them to salvage what they could from the shops. He further alleged that they had to give the thugs money on the advice of the police.
The developer then pleaded to the Kano state governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to look into the matter and pay the compensation as promised.
“I want to use this medium to appeal to His Excellency the governor, as Khadimul Islam, to reconsider the position of the government and to let him know that we invested much in this project and we have made our contributions toward the sustenance of the Mosque. He should, for the sake of Allah, consider our plight and that of the Mosque, and order for the immediate payment of our compensations,” he said.
On his part, Alhaji Muazu Shu’aibu, the Secretary General of the Islamic Foundation, owners of the piece of land where the shops were demolished, told Daily Trust that the foundation had consulted some developers who constructed the shops and agreed on Build Operate and Transfer, with the aim of taking care of the Umar Bin Khattab Mosque from the proceeds of the investment.
He explained how the government approached the foundation and informed them that survey had shown that the shops would be affected as a result of which they sent estate valuers to evaluate and give an estimated figure each developer would get as compensation.
“We have agreed that they would settle everything before they demolish the place and they asked for our account numbers, but we demanded for the amount each developer will collect before we give them our account numbers.
“That had delayed the process, because we demanded for the amount and one director who was there, directed that they should give us the figures, which they did.”
He said “the amounts were given to us and we sat with the representatives of all our developers and showed them their respective amounts after which we submitted our account numbers. Then the government said we should await our payments.”
He alleged that after the appointment of new commissioners, the new commissioner for works came and asked for our cooperation that he wanted to acquire the land for the completion of the flyover.
A letter signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of works, Dahiru Ada’u, sent to the Secretary of Islamic Foundation read in part “Based on the need for the timely completion of this important project for the benefit of the teaming members of populace of the state, I write to inform your good office that this ministry has scheduled to acquire the designated potion and continue with the execution of works. Accordingly, work shall commence in earnest on Friday, 15 November, 2019.
It is in the light of the foregoing that I’m soliciting your usual cooperation on the successful, timely completion of the project, which will solve a number of traffic related problems in our great city.”
According to the secretary, “after that, we heard that compensations were paid and they gave 24 hours to the occupiers to evacuate their belongings for the demolition. I asked some of the developers whether they have seen any alert and they all said they didn’t receive anything. And even before the 24 hours ultimatum, the commissioner came personally and started demolishing a section of the shops and asked the thugs that were to take whatever they want as booty,” he lamented.
When contacted, the State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engineer Muazu Magaji, confirmed government had taken over the land for the construction of flyover which is for public interest.
He said government had no business whatsoever with any developer but rather they dealt with the rightful owners of the property which government had paid compensation based on the agreement entered.
He added that the businessmen occupying the shops were crying just to pursue their personal interest, adding that government had just taken over the land and not the structures on it.
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