On May 29, 2023, the newly sworn-in Kano governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf of the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP) made some announcements in his inaugural speech. The highlight of the announcement was the immediate demolition of illegal structures erected within some identified public places in Kano state.
Corroborating the stance of the government, the newly appointed Chief Press Secretary, Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa said, “The structures erected in schools, mosques, playgrounds, graveyards, markets and hospitals are to be demolished to ensure strict adherence on the urban planning, beautification and safety of people.”
He added that “these places are meant for public utilization, it is therefore, disheartening to witness the incessant destruction and conversion of public places that are used to render social services by unpatriotic citizens. We shall bring an end to land grabbing and indiscriminate erection of illegal structures in the state”
On Saturday, June 3, 2023, the Kano state government rolled out bulldozers and began the demolition of illegal structures allegedly erected on public properties. The demolition exercise is being carried out by the state task force on mass demolition under the Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA), personally led by the governor, under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police, Muhammed Gumel.
Demolitions Recorded in Kano
Among the first set of buildings demolished so far in Kano state by the Kabir Yusuf-led administration include a three-storey building with 90 shops along the race course popularly known as Filin Sukuwa at the Nasarawa GRA.
Another structure that the newly inaugurated administration demolished is the symbolic “Tumbin Giwa” roundabout along State Road in Kano.
The roundabout was said to have been remodelled by the Ganduje-led administration at the cost of N160 million in 2017. The roundabout was built as a symbol to commemorate the state’s Golden Jubilee.
Similarly, on Sunday, June 11, the state task force demolished shops built by the fence of Sani Abacha Stadium at Kofar Mata, GSS Kofar Nasarawa as well as buildings by GGSS Dukawuya, Goron Dutse.
Kano Government Gives Reasons for Demolition
On April 16, 2023, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Baffa Bichi, said the symbolic Tumbin Giwa roundabout at Kano Government House was demolished because it carried a Christian cross.
Bichi added that the roundabout was blocking people from seeing others from different directions. He said the roundabout was causing holdup and accidents along Government House road which was not a wise decision.
Bichi said, “the Hotoro interchange flyover is also carrying a big cross. We have to look at that too. This means if you are viewing Kano from the top using a drone, you will see two big crosses. That of the Government House and the flyover. We will not let that be.”
In general, the Kano state government reiterated that the demolished buildings and structures did not align with the state’s original masterplan and the new government has to put Kano back to its original masterplan.
In a separate interview with Arise News, Baffa Bichi said the demolitions were not vendetta or plots against the government. He mentioned that the past government closed a university, a campus of the Kano state institute of Science and Technology, chased the students out and erected shops.
In a separate interview, Ibrahim Yakubu, the Managing Director of Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KNUPDA) said the demolition of the roundabout by the government house was not due to the “Christian cross signs” allegedly inscribed on the round-about. He said the monument was demolished due to security issues and was wrongly cited.
He added that the Kano government notified the owners and marked them for demolition with a week’s notice.
Did the Owners of the Demolished Buildings Receive Government Approval?
The CDD War Room could not identify the owners of the demolished buildings. However, we found some individuals on Twitter who claimed to know the owners of the demolished buildings. One of them uploaded the certificate of ownership (CofO), and building permit alongside other documents showing approval by the Kano State Urban Planning Development Authority.
Summary of Findings
The CDD War Room can confirm that the Abba Kabir Yusuf-led administration has marked several buildings and structures for demolition. There are news reports that the governor had promised to demolish structures erected on government land sold by the Ganduje administration.
The state task force alleged that the structures were built against the state’s master plan, which violated security protocols as they were illegally built on lands meant for public structures.
On the other hand, the opposition party and some Kano dwellers attributed the demolition to political vendetta. They alleged that the demolitions are tailored towards erasing the structures and projects inaugurated by the immediate past Ganduje-led administration.
Conclusively, we found that some of the structures were built on hitherto government properties. However, there are evidence to show that the owners of the new structures got approval from the past government before being allotted the lands.