Residents of Gbagyi community in Kaduna State have staged a peaceful protest asking the state government not to go ahead with the planned demolition of their houses that have been marked as illegal structures.
The residents of the community in Chikun Local Government Area, took to the streets on Thursday, carrying placards and chanting anti-government songs while demanding that the demolition be suspended as the matter was already before the courts.
They claimed to have all the relevant documents that gave them the right to occupy the land, insisting that the planned demolition was illegal and inhuman.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai had during a working visit to Gbagyi Villa said some of the buildings in the area had illegally encroached on the land belonging to the Kaduna State Polytechnic and would be demolished.
The Governor had also added that government was ready to recognise and protect every proven title to the land.
Chris Obodumu, leader of Gbagyi community, noted that late Governor Patrick Yakowa in 2011, resolved the dispute and amicably demarcated the boundary between the two parties, but another former Kaduna State Governor, Balarabe Musa, said that those claiming ownership of the land were not the genuine owners.
He advised the aggrieved residents to tread with caution, stating that the land in question was allocated to the Kaduna Polytechnic by the state government as a virgin land over 40 years, until some people started encroaching into it.
Musa, however, urged the government to set up a verification committee before the demolition.
The students of the Kaduna Polytechnic on their part held a peaceful protest where they commended Governor El-Rufai for assisting the institution to recover its land from encroachers.
President of the Student Union Government, Usman Kareem, expressed optimism that the land would solve the school’s myriad of accommodation problems if recovered.