Barely 24 hours for the Kaduna State government’s bulldozers to commence demolition of structures constructed on government lands, especially public schools, property owners and tenants presumed to be occupying illegal builds have complained bitterly about the decision by the governor.
It would be recalled that Governor Nasi el-Rufai’s government had issued ultimatum to owners of such property to stop work and later announced that they should remove them or be demolished by the government by Wednesday.
Affected buildings include those on public schools such as the old St. John’s College, now Rimi College, Sardauna Memorial College, Alhuhuda College, and Government College and others in Kaduna.
This reporter observed on a visit to some of these schools that some of the houses have been marked for demolition.
Land owners and workers have stopped work and vacated sites while those residing in the buildings are aggrieved and confused on what to do.
It was also gathered that some property owners and estate surveyors have resorted to selling the lands probably to those who are not aware of the development.
It was also gathered that some of the lands are acquired during the Sani Abacha regime.
According to Dr. Suleiman Abdulrasheed, a medical practitioner based in Kaduna, he was tricked by a supposed friend into buying a parcel of land at Sardauna Memorial College, SMC, Ungwan Dosa.
Dr. Abdulrasheed said in 2010 when he came back to Nigeria, he was told that government wanted to dispose the parcel of land in order to generate money for the development of the school.
Another property owner in Rimi College who spoke under the condition of anonymity said he bought the property (duplex) for N12.5million from the former owner, because of his wedding in February this.
He vowed to use all legal means to recover his money from the government or the agents.
However, most of the victims said they bought the lands from agents who paraded themselves as persons working with the government.
Interacting with an estate surveyor based in Kaduna and one time publicity secretary of the Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyors Valuers, Rolands Idiagbor described the governors decision as a welcome development.
According to him, “It is a welcome development because we have always looked at the sanitisation of Kaduna State.
“But it is our prayer and hope that the governor will have the political will to see through no matter whose house. There should be no exception because people will become agitated and angry if he is going to be selective. So, it should be a blanket enforcement. Whoever has encroached on government land should pay dearly for it,” he said.