Kano government agrees to pay N3 billion to owners of demolished shops

The Kano State Government has agreed to pay N3 billion as compensation to one group of traders affected by its decision to demolish properties it claimed were illegal.

The government settled out of court with the Incorporated Trustees of Masallacin Eid Shop Owners and Traders Association for the demolition of their property.

The agreement was reached through an application on terms of settlement dated 12, December and filed before a Federal High Court judge, Inyang Ekwo, in Abuja.

The shop owners sued the state government of Kano State, the Kano State Urban Planning and Development Authority ( KNUPDA); the state’s Attorney-General.

Others joined in the suit are the Nigeria Police; the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 1, Kano; the Commissioner of Police, Kano; the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Commandant; and NSCDC, Kano State Command.

Initially, a High Court judge in Kano, Samuel Amobeda, had on 29 September ordered the state government to pay the traders N30 billion as compensation for the illegal demolition of their properties.

However, on Thursday, the state agreed to pay compensation following the court’s order that froze at least 24 of the state government bank accounts for failure to comply with its judgement.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the freezing of government accounts is crippling governance in the state.

In the last few days, lower cadre officials were seen in clusters at the Audu Bako Secretariat (State Government Secretariat) discussing the skeletal services being rendered.

Many top officials, including the Governor, Abba Yusuf, were absent from their office for undisclosed reasons.

Last Friday, this reporter overheard a civil servant who visited the office of the Head of Service to follow up on his promotion tell his colleagues that he was asked to return when governance returned to normal.

An official, who asked not to be named because he does not have permission to speak with this reporter, said only government bank accounts remitting internally generated revenue were not affected by the court order as the state uses such accounts to fund some of its services.

The counsel to the shop owner, N. A. Ayagi, informed the federal court that the parties had reached an agreement.

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“We are glad to inform the court that the judgment creditors and the judgment debtors have settled. “We have accordingly filed our terms of settlement,” he said.

Mr Ayagi then adopted the terms of the settlement and urged the court to enter it as a consent judgement, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported.

READ ALSO: Governance affected in Kano as court freezes govt’s bank accounts

According to NAN, the counsel to the government did not object to the application and the judge consequently delivered the judgement as consented to by the parties.

Many other cases against the government

Other property owners are challenging the government in court over the illegal demolition of their properties. The governor, Mr Yusuf, ordered the demolition of certain properties across the Kano Metropolis, barely six days after he assumed office, claiming the immediate past government sold the land illegally.

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Some of the properties demolished include a three-storey building with 90 shops on a race course at the Nasarawa GRA. Daula Hotel is a three-star hotel reconstructed by the Ganduje administration under a Private Public Partnership arrangement.

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The government also demolished another structure at Hajj Camp sold to private individuals by the immediate past administration of the state amongst others.

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