Kano demolition: Court awards N30bn against govt

A Federal High Court in Kano ruled on Friday, September 29, that the state government pay N30 billion as compensation to the Incorporated Trustees of Massallacin Eid Shop Owners following the demolition of their buildings in June.

High Court Justice Samuel Amobeda ruled that the demolition exercise was illegal.

The compensation includes N10 billion in damages for violation of the applicants’ rights to life, dignity, and ownership of property, and N20 billion for highhandedness, impunity and disregard for the rule of law exhibited by the government during the process.

The state government embarked on a demolition spree under the leadership of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf a few days after his inauguration, pulling down several shops, offices and other buildings worth billions of naira.

Yusuf said the properties being demolished were government lands sold off to private individuals by his predecessor, Abdullahi Ganduje. He also said the exercise fulfilled his campaign promises, adding that residents were satisfied with his actions.

However, many have insisted that the exercise was politically motivated and a vendetta mission against the previous government.

The ICIR reported that many state residents who lost their buildings to the exercise felt they were being targeted for belonging to the opposition party. Yusuf denied the allegation.

Following the ruling on Friday, the state Commissioner of Justice and Attorney-General Haruna Dederi said the ruling would be appealed on several grounds, including that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.

“The action that was instituted at the Federal High Court was by way of enforcement of fundamental rights, and issues that border on title were not even dealt with in that judgement. We have already prepared every paper, and we are going ahead to file an appeal against that petition because it’s a judgment that cannot stand.

“We are going to contest that at the Court of Appeal, and the land use decree is very clear about the governor’s powers over land in the state and more particularly in urban areas. It is a decision the court has passed, and we did not agree with,” Dederi said.

Meanwhile, The ICIR reported how the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sacked the state Governor Yusuf on September 20.

The tribunal consequently declared the All Progressives Congress candidate, Nasir Gawuna, as the winner of the March 18 governorship poll in the state.

The tribunal ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Yusuf of the New Nigeria People Party (NNPP) and give it to Nasiru Gawuna.

The three-person panel presided over by Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay deducted 165,663 votes from Yusuf’s total votes.

The court declared the deducted votes invalid because the ballot papers were not stamped or signed.

The tribunal had earlier on Monday, August 21, reserved a ruling on a petition filed by the APC against Yusuf’s victory.

Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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