A building belonging to the member representing Bauchi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, was in the early hours of Saturday demolished by persons suspected to be officials of the Bauchi State government.
The building, located at the GRA area of Bauchi metropolis, was demolished at about 1:00 am allegedly on the order of the state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
Reacting to the demolition, Abdullahi, who was recently suspended by the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, as Wakilin Birni, alleged that his property was demolished on the instruction of Governor Mohammed without following due process.
The federal lawmaker, who last year defected from the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said that government’s claim that the building was sited by the roadside was false.
He alleged that he was being victimised by the governor because he (Abdullahi) belongs to the APC, submitting that the building was demolished without being paid any compensation by the government.
“My house was not on the roadside; it did not block road, but the governor gave an order to demolish my house immediately he arrived into the state yesterday (Friday). I built the house a long time ago,” the lawmaker cried out.
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According to him, “it (demolition) was carried out because I am a member of the APC. That is why I am treated that way.”
Abdullahi informed that he bought the land on which he built the demolished house from a former Head of Service in the state and subsequently followed all necessary procedures, including registering it with the state Ministry of Lands, where he paid the sum of N360,000.
“I did not buy the land from the state government rather I bought it from the former Head of Service during the tenure of former governor Mohammed Abubakar Abdullahi about two years ago.
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“I followed all due process for owning the place. I also registered the land through the Bauchi State Ministry of Lands. I did registration for N360,000 before starting to build on it. But today they said the house is not mine, how?”
The Reps member submitted that government ought to have got a court order ordering the demolition of his house, which should be properly served on him and be compensated before carrying out the demolition.
“Even if they want to demolish my house, they should have done it in a good way by giving me a letter from court ordering me to move out of the house after they might have paid compensation.
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“But no, they just came with bulldozer and started demolishing. Before they demolished houses in town to construct new roads, they paid the owners compensation but because I am a member of APC that was why I am treated this way.”
Abdullahi submitted that even if the state government wanted to use the land to build a hospital as it claimed, “they should do the right thing.”
According to him, he was not against government providing infrastructure for the people, saying that, “I also want the government to do something good in the state but they should do it in a right way.”
Speaking in a telephone interview with Punch on Saturday, said “We’ve been dragging this for about two weeks. Finally, on Thursday, he sent them in the night and they came with guns and shot four of my security men there. We reported the matter to the Police and they were taken to the hospital where the bullets were removed.
“On Friday, the same group went to the house around 6pm. They came with a bulldozer from the Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency; the governor went there himself and ordered them to demolish the house,” Abdullahi stated.
When asked if he had evidence to back his claim that the governor was physically there and truly ordered the demolition of the house, Abdullahi said, “He went there personally.”
Continuing, the lawmaker said, “It is not something hidden. I was not there, but people saw him when he went there. Many government officials, including the SSG and his commissioners, were all there with him.
“Initially, the SSG, commissioners of Works and Housing and the GM of the State Development Board were the first to go there. They showed those who did the demolition the building.”
Asked who were the people he claimed came with guns and shot the security men guarding his house, Abdullahi said, “They are a group of hunters called Garu Hunters Association, created by the governor and working under his government.”
Abdullahi argued that there were processes for demolition of any property by the government as provided by law, claiming however, that all the processes were not followed.
“If government wants to revoke your title, they have to issue revocation notice to you and when it expires, then it can be revoked. It is either it is revoked for overriding public interest and it has to be specified exactly what it is.
“Section 29 of the Land Use Act gives the governor the power to revoke a title; but if that will be done, they have to compensate you based on the value. If you refuse to accept the value they are putting on your property, then, you can go and bring your own professional to do the valuation for you, then you go into negotiation.
“In fact, even before they go for the valuation, they have to send you an invitation letter after the notice and it is either you go there or your send your representative to stand for you. Unfortunately, all these steps were not taken before the demolition,” the stated.
Abdullahi claimed that when the government officials visited the site about two weeks ago, he told them that he had already filed a case in court against the government and all the MDAs concerned; noting, “They all know that the matter is in court, but they went ahead and demolished it.”
Asked if he knew why the demolition was done, he said: “It is pure politics because [title of] my piece of land attached to my factory, a rice mill, was earlier revoked about one month ago. He revoked it for the same purpose, overriding public interest. I know he will go ahead and revoke my other lands because I have many of them.”
Asked how he acquired the land, the lawmaker said, “I didn’t acquire that land through allocation, I purchased it from somebody who was genuinely allocated the land through owner-occupier. I bought the land between four and five years ago.
“I didn’t even buy the land directly from the man who got the allocation. I am the third person that bought the land. I did all the necessary documentations and I followed due process. I paid building approval issued by the government, I paid ground rates up to 2024, even the Certificate of Occupancy was not issued in my name. I did bid of assignment registered by the governor.
“Before I bought the house, I conducted a legal search to see if there was any encumbrance, but there was none. All the legal processes to acquire the land, I did all of them.
“This is victimisation being to me personally, because of politics. It is not only me, but also to APC chieftains, their lands were also revoked.
“He revoked that of the former governor Isa Yuguda; he revoked Yakubu Dogara’s land, he revoked my own land and now, he has demolished my house.”
Efforts made to get government officials to react to the development proved abortive as those contacted were not ready to comment on the issue.
Also, calls put through to the telephone line of the Senior Special Adviser to Governor Mohammed on Media and Communications, Muktar Gidado, were not going through, while he did not respond to both SMS and WhatsApp message sent to him as of Press time.