Southern Kaduna in Diaspora (SOKAD), U.S.A. & Canada
(Cleveland, Ohio; April 4, 2016). The Southern Kaduna people in Diaspora have received news of the serious crisis confronting the residents of Gbagyi Villa in Kaduna South. It has been reported that thousands of homes, businesses and places of worship have been marked for demolition by the Kaduna State government. A big part of the community has been alleged to be illegal based on zoning/planning rules developed by the government years ago.
At the center of the dispute is Federal Polytechnic Kaduna which is the main party challenging the legality of many of the homes in that community. Our investigation has revealed that indeed the original residents of that community were displaced as land was sought for the expansion of the Federal Polytechnic in Kaduna South. Conflicts arose in the acquisition process as the owners of the property in question felt that they were been forced out of their ancestral land. The State government at that time found a solution to the problem and whitepaper was issued that demarcated the land with portions set aside for future expansion of the Polytechnic and the natives had the remaining land to continue with their activities of daily living.
Over the years, the community has expanded and grown both in human, social and economic activities. That expansion resulted in the need for more space to accommodate their growth. As it turned out, agents of the Kaduna State government permitted acquisition of land in the area demarcated for the future growth of the Federal Polytechnic. Furthermore, building permits were issued. Therefore, it can be inferred that the residents involved had the blessing of the state government through its agents and representatives to proceed with their economic activities in the area.
The proposed demolition by the El-Rufai administration will imposed untold hardship and suffering on thousands of people who by and large are innocent citizens who were put in this predicament by government officials. Destroying over 3000 homes, scores of churches, and small family businesses, cannot be viewed in a positive light, even if the motivation is to promote strict law and order in Kaduna. The unscrupulous government agents must be held accountable and not their victims who would otherwise suffer a double dose of injustice should they lose their life time investments. The Government and its agents who issued the permits knew that issuing the permits was illegal and wrong. Those individuals or entities must be held accountable. Not the communities.
We therefore appeal to our Governor Mallam Nasir El Rufai, to live up to the expectation of being the People’s Governor, and temper justice with mercy. Land is the only asset that most of our people have- they should not be rendered homeless from the only place they and their ancestors, for hundreds of years, had called home.
While hoping for a successfully legal resolution to the issue, we pray for the success of your administration and for the wisdom to continue your commitment to the service of all the citizens of the state, especially including the less fortunate individuals in our great state.
The Executive Committee
Aminu Likita, MD, MPH, President
Freeman Kamuru, PhD, MD, Secretary General
Ibrahim A. Maikori, M.Ed Financial Secretary