By Bukar Bolori
The Executive Secretary (ES) Borno Geographic information Service (BOGIS) Eng Adam Bababe has said that no worship center has been bulldozed illegally since he took over the management of the agency.
Bababe who addressed a news conference recently in Maiduguri said that his actions so far was in line with the laws setting up the agency adding that he was brought in to correct all the under hand deals concerning land matters in the state.
Responding to a question on compensations asked by metrowatch online newspaper as it concerns the EYN church bulldozed by his men, the ES maintained that Government does not fancy pulling down worship places just for the sake of it adding that they as an agency indeed go after wrong doers and force them to do the right thing.
“Government does not fancy demolition. But if you see any structure, Church or Mosque being demolished, there must be a form of violation. To my conscience any structure being demolished regardless of the category, find out what they did wrong before the law caught up with them.
” Look at this scenario you have painted, let’s say government has accepted that it demolished any structure wrongly. What are the procedures? Did they follow the laws? Did they pay for commercial or residential? People should ask themselves, after identifying their category, did we actually abide by the terms of reference? Did we adhere to all of them? If yes or no, the answers will be clear to them. However Government will react only on the face of the law and nothing else.
“You see, in Borno, we have been involved in over a decade long territorial insurgency and as such we felt we would not allow anything related to religion to cause mahem. That is why we are being tactical with religious places but many of them are defaulters.
On the mistakes made by the EYN maduganari church, he said that “the records says that the land in question is residential not commercial or religious. If they want, let them come and apply to us that they want a religious site and we will check and see what is on the ground before responding to them.”
However, as things are, he went on: “Nobody can just wake up and impose on Government what he or she thinks is right even if it’s against what the law says. By the way, what pleasure do I derive as a Muslim from demolition of a mosque or even a church?
” I believe that the outburst and anger on that matter was because the people concerned lacked knowledge about the laws. I work according to the laws setting up the agency and I will not do anything touching on the integrity of government that would make me run foul of the law and cause the Governor to sack me.”
Engineer Bababe regretted that people always find it difficult to accept reality because we Africans are extremely religious but the church failed to abide by the terms of reference of the land in question and rather went foul of the law.
” They knew very well that the land was residential and the terms of allocation clearly spelt out and that they must be paying ground rents. But they went ahead to convert it to a commercial plot and even fixed a package water factory on the said land. How do we allow such an infringement to linger for others to emulate?”.
Bababe regretted that his agency will not tolerate any such infringement from anyone adding that he would not have the guts to challenge others with water factories in their residencies if he had not stopped the wrong going on at the EYN madugunari church demolished last year.
He said that a similar case occurred in which he had to demolish an endangered mosque because of a house, “that case in concern was a Mosque at a particular place close to the Shehu’s palace. It showed some cracks and it was obvious the mosque must go because of the building.
” They were praying during one raining season and one side of the structure collapsed on the people. The mosque started coming down so we had to pull it down.
“Now the house was the target but we could not pull down the house before getting to the mosque. We told the community the implications and they agreed. So we pulled down the mosque. So you can see this has nothing to do with my religion but the laws of the land as enshrined.”
On the proposed fly over to ease traffic at the post office area of the capital Maiduguri, Bababe said that government will instead build a dual carriage way from post office to Gwange grave yard area to ease the traffic.
The ES stated that a high powered committee has been set up by government to determine which property will go and resultant valuation will be made to give rise to compensations for structures generally before real construction starts.
On application for commercial farm lands in Borno state, he posited that such applications must be routed through the council areas as there is no room for farming within the metroplolis of greater Maiduguri, he stressed.
” We do not have such massive lands in the metropolis any more except residential and industrial layouts most of which are yet to be developed” he concluded.
About N1.42 billion was generated by the agency in 2021 alone from the new innovations he has introduced including updates of ground rents.