KANO, Nigeria – The Umar Ganduje led Kano State Government has reportedly seized and demolished a property worth N250million belonging to the Emir of Kano Muhammadu Sanusi II.
On Wednesday, Daily Nigerian said its investigation with Kano Focus Newspapers revealed that the property, located at Ibrahim Dabo Road, was demolished to pave way for the ongoing flyover and underpass being constructed at the Dangi Roundabout area.
The demolition of structures within the land and the fence was supervised by the Commissioner of Works, Engineer Muaz Magaji, on Friday, 15 November, 2019, days before the Kano High Court presided by Justice Usman Na’abba nullified the law that created new emirates and the emirs in Kano.
On anonymity, some officials of the Ministry of Lands, disclosed that Emir Sanusi purchased the 1.2 hectare land in 2010 at the cost of N200million.
They added that the land was recently valued at N250million at commercial rate, but the state government insisted that payment would be made in accordance with the statutory land rate.
Sanusi’s Chief of Staff, Munir Sanusi, declined comment.
He explained that the monarch had not given him clearance to speak on the matter.
In his reaction, the commissioner claimed that the Kano government had paid compensation to the emir.
“I can tell you he got the alert. For eight months, this issue has stalled the project, and this project is for public interest. We were even hoping that the Emir would give us the land free to continue with the work”, Magaji said.
“But since he did not give it to us, we decided to engage the service of valuers who valued it according to the statutory land rate because the government does not engage in commercial purchase”.
The commissioner also confirmed that he personally mounted the Grade D9 bulldozer to pull down the said the structures.
But sources say statutory land rate the government paid Sanusi was a paltry N4million.
Meanwhile, Malam Muazu Shuaibu, the Secretary-General of Islamic Foundation, an NGO which owns a portion of land hosting the shops affected by the bridge project, has accused the Kano government of snatching their land without due compensation.
He explained that the shops were leased out to developers on a Build Operate and Transfer, BOT arrangement for a period of 20 years with the aim of generating funds to maintain the Umar Bin Khattab Mosque.
Shuaibu said: “They sent valuers to make an assessment on what amount to give to each allotee. But we told them that they cannot proceed with the demolition until payments have been made to the beneficiaries.
“So, they asked us to forward our account numbers but we said no, we cannot forward account numbers until they give the figures they would pay to each allotee.
“After so much delay, the government officials later sent the figures which we share with our developers before finally submitting account numbers and the government officials asked us to wait for payment.
“I contacted the developers to know if any of them had received an alert but all of them said they did not receive alerts.
“In less than the 24 hours given, the commissioner came personally and started demolishing part of the shops and then asked thugs to take everything they want as booty, claiming that they had paid compensation”.