KADUNA STATE GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE IMPUNITY AND DISRESPECT FOR THE RULE OF LAW SWALLOWS UP JUSTICE FOR GBAGYI VILLA RESIDENDTS IN KADUNA.
Being a text of a Press Conference By Gbagyi Villa Property Owners
- We are citizens of Nigeria living on our ancestral land which our forefathers deforested and which they lived, farmed, died and were buried. Our community is popularly called GBAGYI VILLA VILLAGE, KADUNA.
- It was on this same land we were raised by our forefathers and it is the only place we know as home in Nigeria. We have become a community living together happily with other Nigerians from different parts of the country. All the social, economic and educational life of our children, are carried out in our community.
- It was part of our community land that government took over forcefully and built Kaduna Polytechnic without any compensation. We did not complain because we welcome development since such an institution would serve the larger interest of the general public.
- From 2009-2011, our Gbagyi Villa Community had a minor boundary dispute with Kaduna Polytechnic which Governor Yakowa of blessed memory intervened in, settled through a committee and issued a government white paper that clearly established the boundary between Gbagyi Villa and Kaduna Polytechnic with a sketch plan produced and signed by the Surveyor-General of Kaduna State to that effect.
THREAT OF DEMOLITION
- OUR Gbagyi Villa Community and Kaduna Polytechnic were living happily since the resolution of the boundary dispute in 2011 Until sometime in late 2015 up to 4th March 2016 when the Governor of Kaduna State, through KASUPDA caused demolition notices to be pasted on all the buildings at Gbagyi Villa, alleging that we breached sections 26 & 27 of KASUPDA law by not obtaining planning permission before building our houses. This is untrue for we were granted permission by the government before we built houses.
- After the service of the demolition notices, the governor of Kaduna State granted press interview weherein he threatened the demolition of our houses, come rain come shine.
- As law abiding citizens we took our complaint to the law courts against the Governor, the chief Law Office of the state and KASUPDA for the court to determine our rights to acquire and own properties in Nigeria as Nigerian citizens.
- We sought for and obtained as order of the Honourable Court restraining the governor, KASUPDA and others from carrying out the threatened demolition of our houses pending the time the court will determine our case.
- It is noteworthy to state that the Governor, KASUPDA and the Hon. Attorney-General have been served with the said restraining order of the court and the case is ongoing.
- However, on Thursday the 21st of July 2016, the Governor, the General Manager of KASUPDA and the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic stormed our Gbagyi Villa Village with truck loads of soldiers and policemen and the governor threatened that he would carry out the demolition of Gbagyi Villa unter the force of arms and called us “CRIMINALS’
He was confronted by Journalist with the fact of the pending suit in court and the restraining order of the court pending the determination of the suit but the Governor assured upon an oath that he would carry out the demolition notwithstanding the restraining order. The only civilized and lawful thing we could do was to go to court to determine our rights which we have done.
We are very shocked and dismayed that the Governor who rode to power upon our mandate and the political slogan that he would end impunity and ensure the rule of law is today not only a preacher of impunity but a practitioner of impunity and disrespect for the rule of law.
The Governor has called us unprintable names and condemned us as criminals, when no court of law has convicted us as such. He has chosen to and has sworn determination to disrespect the legal process in court, and to use force regardless of our rights, to render us homeless with our families on our ancestral land.
We are compelled by the Governor’s sworn threat of the demolition of the over three thousand five hundred (3,500) houses at Gbagyi Villa to ask the following questions:-
- Do we have rights to approach the court for the determination of our rights in the Governor’s type of “democracy”?
- Is the Governor the executive and the judiciary in Kaduna state to accuse us as criminals, judge and condemn us and execute his punishment of demolition on us?
- Has any court condemned us as violators of the planning laws of Kaduna State?
- Can the Governor resort to the use of force by using soldiers under arms to demolish our houses while we are in court for our rights to be determined?
- Is the Governor above the laws of Nigeria, such that he can act as he likes with impunity and total disrespect for the courts of the land?
- If government that is to protect our rights acts outside the law by sheer use of force of arms on helpless people by demolishing our houses inspite of the pending case in court, is the Governor not setting a precedent for society to learn anarchy?
We call on all people of goodwill to help us prevail on the Governor of Kaduna State to act within the law and not engage the rule of might is right in the demolition of our houses. We may be poor and powerless but we are still Nigerian citizens. Please don’t render us destitute in a land already saturated with internally displaced persons.
Your Excellency Sir, we did not vote for you so that you can take away our rights and at the same time deprive us of the opportunity for the court to hear our cries and determine our rights. You are our governor. We are your people. Though you came to our community to call us criminals, we welcomed you and your entourage with cheers and dances.
Your allegation during your ‘visit’ that Gbagyi Villa is an encroachment on Polytechnic land is clearly an after-thought. If encroachment was the problem, we beg to ask:
- Why has your government not sworn demolition over the open encroachment right at the back of the Students affairs block of the polytechnic, main campus, TUDUN WADA KADUNA?
- Why has your government not sworn demolition over the open encroachment into the polytechnic farm at Nariya Village?
We call on you to be fair to everyone. We may be powerless against you in the protection of our property rights but all powers belong to God Almighty. If you will not allow the court to hear our complaint, you may close the door of justice on us but be assured that you cannot close our access to the throne of the Almighty God who is the Liberator of the Oppressed. God Almighty will hear the cries of the oppressed and he will certainly answer speedily.
Chris Obodumu Abba
Chairman, Gbagyi Villa Property