KADUNA STATE LAND GRABBERS, THEIR SUPPORTERS AND OUR GENERAL INTERESTS
My people will say “matambayi baya bata”; which is literally saying those who ask will never get lost. And that is I like people who are not too ashamed or egotistical to ask when they are lost as to why certain things happen or what they didn’t, people who ask to know what happen and what didn’t. Because only then will you know what actually happen.
Sometimes, especially on social media, when you humbly ask, the response you will get will be many, varying, conflicting and most times bias and sentimental, but it is only after that that you will make informed decisions and when you publicize your opinion your position and reasoning may be sound.
If you don’t have the necessary information and you don’t ask, then your judgement will not only be biased but will make you sound foolish. These days people are hardly patient. Some are so desperate to be a journalist and public analyst they are competing for who is first with the “breaking news” or who is first to analyse without all the necessary information.
A few days ago, while many were rushing to post and repost on what is going on in Kaduna State and sharing re-sharing the views of a certain politician, my good friend, Bimbo Ariyo, who is in UK, about 5,000 kilometers away, made a post and ask a simple question, “Hassan DM, what is going on?” I know what is going on, I’ve written about it, he read it. But he is also reading something else.
So, I set out to visit the affected public institutions and take some pictures to send to him, before I respond again. On that politician and the governor, I had this to tell Bimbo that in comparison, this is what is going on. We will just look at the two personalities. You have two people and two different approach.
1) One wants to be popular and relevant. The other want to leave a legacy.
2) One is holding an inconsequential position, by Nigerian standard, where no one will ask him how he affected the life people. The other is holding a position where at the end of 4 years we will access his performance both in quality and in quantity. Thus one want to liked, the other want to be appreciated.
3) One is not interested if he is reelected or not, because he has his eyes set on bigger things, and is only interested in providing leadership, and another man who is only interested in being a politician. That is why one is busy working and the other one is saying “at the rate he is going will ruin us”. To that person, it is not about delivering good governance, in the long run. It is about reelection.
4) You have one man interested in changing his state and his people over the long term, and another one interested in the short run. That’s why one is drastically aiming wholesale change in the way states affairs are managed, and another one is interested in distributing camels to people during Sallah.
5) Above all, one is “representing” a portion of the state in Abuja, where no one will hold him accountable for lack of roads, water, health facilities, theft of public property etc. The other one is totally and completely responsible for the whole state. That is why when one said a Governor is same as Senator, and some actually believe him, I laughed. Really? If that is true, he should stop whining and wailing and revert the executive orders.
It is the wisdom of Sir Ahmadu Bello in the 50s and 60s that gave us many of the schools and institutions that we have in the North today. Even though he was very privileged, a Prince and an heir to the throne Usman Dan Fodio, he especially look out for the poor in the north. It is that wisdom and vision that provided us with schools and lands that were allocated for the future expansion of these schools. In fact, legend has it that, when the construction of ABU’s structures started, he was told that the University needs more land for future expansion. Sir Ahmadu, the legend says, decreed that from Zaria to Sokoto on the left side belongs to ABU. And that is it. ABU has the largest land in the whole world.
Unfortunately, those this sage left behind and their children have betrayed both him, his legacies and us. They have been mercilessly and criminally stealing the lands left for our institutional development. So much that some of us cannot even recognize some of the primary and secondary schools we attended as kids anymore; and it is not because the schools have been developed beyond recognition. No! It is because they have been reduced to nothingness. We can tell you the address, but the land, fence and some structures are gone. Land is never ever in short supply. If that be the case why leave all the land in the world and go to lands belonging to schools where children of masses attend and grab the lands, illegally.
These are public schools that these land grabbers will never send their kids to. But they can easily acquire such lands and build houses that these poor kids will only see their high fences. One needs to be in Kaduna state to see what they have turned our schools to in the last 30 years, and especially in the last 12 years. In a public school very close to my area, the local government wanted to add 3 more classes, there was no space. They have build in the heart of the football pitch which is at the center of school.
A legend goes that one free large land belonging to ABU in Zaria was fenced by a former governor. They allowed him finish spending resources with the intent of grabbing the land before they sent a letter to thank him for fencing the land for them. That legend also has it that the governor spent about N50m fencing land that is not his. It is that big.
One of my father’s was demolished on Sunday in Zaria. When he bought the land on a secondary school from a government official about 2 decades ago I told him never to develop it, and to resell it. I told him that he wasted his money. But for close to 12 years after purchase nothing happened. Then I became the his object of ridicule. He likes taunting me with with it, about how politically naive I’m. He usually tell me that “Nigeria is Nigeria, and will never change”.
In that period, more than 50 house were built on that public school land where they will never send their children to. When they are building these houses, the officials of the state will come and mark the buildings with red “KASUPDA”. Then the owners will visit and pay hundreds of thousands and the matter will just die down. Some have turned the schools to communities, and they even have associations to “protect” their interests. Now we have someone who is ready to restore order and recover stolen land and people are shouting from 1,000 kilometers.
Before I set out to visit these public schools, yesterday, I and some friends estimated that about 66 secondary schools whose lands were grabbed in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Zaria, Igabi, Sabon Gari, Soba, Ikara, Kachia, Chikun, Kafanchan, and Birnin Gwari. That’s just 11 out of 23 LGAs. There are about 15 schools in the state capital alone. We also did not include primary schools. Then there are 8 hospitals across state. There are also military and police barracks, prisons etc belonging to the Federal Government. The worst affected public institutions and schools are in just 2 local governments (Kaduna North LG and Kaduna South LG) such as:
<> Kaduna Polytechnic (CASSS Campus) <> Kaduna Polytechnic (T/Wada Staff Quarters) <> ABU Teaching Hospital (Staff Quarters), Kaduna <> National Eye Center <> Nigeria Defence Academy (old site) <> Nigeria Institute for Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR) <> GGSS, Kawo, Kaduna <> Sardauna Memorial College <> Government College, Kaduna <> GDSSS (Dalet) Kawo <> Rimi College, Kaduna <> Dan Tsoho Memorial Hospital etc.
The governor cannot do anything about 1 – 6 because they are all Federal establishments. But something must definitely be done about them. It is so bad that some of our federal institutions are hoping that somebody will do something before they lose all their lands that were originally designed for future expansion. Please, call someone living in Kaduna and ask him what happened to NITR in U/Rimi. The research institute belong to the Federal Government. Apart from its offices, its land extends to about half a kilometer both ways. Within 7 years of land grab, what is left now is only the administrative block and two blocks of staff quarters. Over 95% of the land gone; given as compensation or political patronage. Those who work in that Organization for 30 years did not get even a parcel of land which now sell for about N40million.
The worst I have seen is a land that was grabbed from Rimi College and one of the most expensive private schools was built on it. I’m dumping larger and clearer pictures I took yesterday morning, on the comment thread. Starting with a building at the center of a football pitch in a secondary School. Looking at that building, you know that there is no way the children of the owner will attend that school whose stolen land he built on.
I want anyone who knows LEA Primary School Kofan Doka in Zaria, to tell us the state of that school, to tell me that the school has not been encircled by shops and houses that it is now automatically a market. I challenge them to tell me the state of that Primary School in Barnawa opposite Federal Housing Estate. I also want to know the state of that Primary School in Kakuri. What about that School in Takau, Kafanchan? Have you ever been to ABS Primary School on Constitution Road or the one Lokoja Road? If you really care about our state, you’ll cry. In Kafanchan, the land belonging to the School of Nursing was also grabbed, and banks, filling stations, hotels and shops were built there.
This is not about El Rufai or how you feel about him. It is about stopping impunity, and restoring order and hope, which I’m under the impression that all right thinking people support. By the way, no one deserve compensation. Not even my dad, and he knows it. The land is illegally acquired – in fact, stolen and sold to them. Then they continually pray and hope they will get away with it. Some of them may have bribed top officials of KASUPDA into inaction. Others rely on their political friends for cover. That time is over. A new Sheriff is here.
“GOVERNMENT’S IMPUNITY AND LACK OF NOTICE”
As for notice and duration of El Rufai’s government, Kaduna State did not start on May 29th, 2015. We have been in existence long before El Rufai became governor. And the business of governance continues and is transient. Notices were given long before now. El Rufai need not give another notice. He did what he is supposed to do which is to ask those who are saying that there lands are legally acquired to produce their documents. They couldn’t.
My fathers notice dates back to 2007. They have marked “KASUPDA” on that structure from the day he started developing it. But he, like many, refused to vacate the land. In fact, he doubled down by building 4 more rooms outside as shops. His argument at that time was that Makarfi’s government is only trying to collect the lands they acquired from government officials and politicians to give to other politicians.I challenge any one from Kaduna who is on this thread to tell me that notices were not given. When BBC Hausa traced him yesterday for interview he refused to talk.I understand why. He knows that time is up, but he is still hoping and praying that the government may at least give them “something”..
They are talking about impunity, but what could be more than what we have in on of the pictures, here where about four mansions sandwiched the houses of staff of a Secondary School, including the Principla’s, in the heart of Kaduna. They just work and saw people erecting buildings they dare not talk about. Notice one of the staff standing as I take the picture. He told me that when he complained 4 years ago, he was threatened with sack.
The previous governments lack the political will to collect the lands because they have participated in distributing the lands to politicians and cronies as compensation for political support. Then smartly and quickly sold the lands to some “innocent” people.I also challenged anyone here commenting to tell me that over the last few years that “KASUPDA” was not marked on houses and the owners went and bribed public officials to continue building and staying. See picture below of KASUPDA marking below. They just appear and pay up top officials and come back and repaint the building to wipe off the red mark.
I have read people talking about “humanity”. What could be more inhuman and evil than illegally buying/acquiring land on public school that your children will never attend, where the children of the poor attend, some of them without proper uniforms or shoes, and see your children come out daily as they are driven to their expensive private schools? What could be more inhumane, evil and devilish than illegally acquiring land in a public school and building an expensive private school that shares same fence with the public school whose land was stolen? What? In other climes, the state will prosecute them.
What is more inhumane and evil than supporting these acts? Some of us are so used to seeing illegality going unpunished that we consider it normal you shouted “chan. How can anyone in his/her right sense invoke Allah’s wrath on someone doing the right thing? You are asking God to kill, punish and destroy someone reclaiming our collective lands meant for educating our children because your own are in private schools? What kind of God do you think Allah is? You prayed “Allah ka zaba mana wanda yafi alheri”, meaning “Allah select for us what is more beneficial. May He has. Or were then playing then.
One idiot even wrote that “due to years of neglect, the schols (sic) are making the city look ugly, and it is only these so called illegal houses that beatify (sic) our city”. This is beyond Stockholm Syndrome. This is madness raised to a whole new highest level. And this fool is based in the UK. What is more inhuman, callous and evil than this? Is that what is obtained in UK or any sane society?
The people complaining will not tell you that their acquisition of such lands are legal. No, they can’t. They will say they should be compensated. How or why? How do you expect me to compensate people who stole my property? You wouldn’t. I will not. So, why should the state? You shouted “change” and “Sai Mai Rusau”. And now both are here. Change and Rusau are here. You must, as Mahatma Gandhi said, be the change that you desire. Change is here.
As for those of you who know nothing about what is going on and are busy spreading lies from 1,000 kilometers away, your 15 minutes are up. We will not let anyone continue misleading people.
Hassan Mohammed is a Management Consultant, Lecturer and Author