No fewer than three people are feared dead and over 100 houses demolished, after men of Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency, KASUPDA carried out an overnight demolition exercise near Edi-l Bare Bari Community in Zaria.
A report by Arewa Agenda, a publication of Northern young writers for justice and national development disclosed that victims of the exercise are traumatised and displaced by the incident. It also published a video on the incident (https://arewaagenda.com/houses-demolished-land-zaria/)
The victims claimed that the action by KASUPDA did not follow due process, in line with the appropriate legal procedure for such exercise.
Mohammed Isa, one of the people affected by the demolition said: “The KASUPDA people just appeared suddenly and started marking the houses on 6th July 2020. By Tuesday 7th, we got a tip-off from a source within KASUPDA that they are mobilizing security operatives for demolition. By the time they appeared around 9 am and tried to commence demolition, people resisted.
“The DG of KASUPDA ordered the security operatives to shoot them but the DPO was reasonable. He said he had orders to take action on the people, but his conscience won’t allow him to do so. So he retreated with his men, only to reappear at 12:05 am on Wednesday, and level the whole houses in the area by dawn,”
Another victim, Aliyu Usman said, “Since a government Agency is involved, we are not ruling out their culpability in such brazen disregard for law and order. We understand from a reliable source that there is even no documentary record for this. They simply called the Governor on phone and asked him to give KASUPDA the nod and he did.
Usman added that: “The DG of KASUPDA, himself, was a level nine staff, at the agency. But was given accelerated promotion over his seniors to head the organization. We can confirm he was given three days to execute the demolition or lose his job.”
However, a senior government official in the State has debunked the claims of the victims.
The officer told Arewa Agenda that the residents were issued a relevant notice, and all protocols were duly followed.
“You cannot build a house in a place without what you call certificate of occupancy or approved building plan. So definitely they were given notice. But they will not admit it,” he said.
A demolition notice later dated 18th June 2020, which was forwarded to Arewa Agenda by the government official, however, indicated that the residents were given a 21-day ultimatum to relocate.
But the residents insisted that they were not served.