By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Ben Agande
ABUJA — Following the outrage that greeted the demolition of Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi’s house on Plot 11B, Sambo Close, Angwan Rimi area of Kaduna metropolis, the state government has asked him to go to court, if he felt that his house was wrongly demolished.
This is even as the government put up a tenement rate bill of N30 million for Senator Hunkuyi on one of his houses at Inuwa Wada street, Kaduna.
Senator Hunkuyi who disclosed the new twist through his Twitter handle @HunkuyiSuleiman tweeted: “Once again, @GovKaduna Malam @elrufai has sent a ridiculous bill to me for a purported ground rent of my personal house at Inuwa Wada to the tune of N30 million to be paid within 30 days, failure to do so might probably result to another demolition like he did on my other property.”
The position of the government was conveyed by Mr. Uba Sani, Special Adviser to Governor Nasir el-Rufai on Political and Intergovernmental Affairs, who briefed journalists in Abuja, yesterday.
He said: “We can tell you that we have a law and if he feels aggrieved, he can go to court. I can assure you that when he goes to court, we will prove the fact that we took this action in accordance with the Land Use Act.
“It is not persecution. If you regard it as persecution, it means the over 100 people whose houses were demolished in the last one year are being persecuted.
“The same law that was violated by those poor people, who have no voice was applied to Hunkuyi but because Hunkuyi has a voice, he has money, he can go to the media, that is why people are talking about his issue.” Even govt officials pay their ground rent
The SA explained that even those serving in the government of El-Rufai must pay their ground rent, as well as revalidate their land titles or lose same.
“When it was announced that those in default of ground rent should go and pay up, I went and met the manager of land. We sat down and calculated what I was owing and I paid. I paid because I knew the consequences of not paying. I didn’t say I was a Special Adviser to the Governor. So nobody should tell us that because he is a senator, he is, therefore, immune from obeying the law.
Timing of demolition perfect
Reacting to critics who claimed that the timing of the demolition was wrong, the SA said: “The timing of the demolition is perfect. When it was announced that teachers who could not pass Primary 4 exams would be sacked, Hunkuyi went to television to say,
‘Election is coming. How can you sack teachers? Who will vote for you?’
“We will continue to do the right thing. What is important is to continue to do the right thing. What is important is the people of Kaduna State.”
Outrage trails demolition
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail Tuesday’s demolition of the factional office of All Progressives Congress, APC, as Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, yesterday, described the action of the state government as “a recipe for chaos.”
Also, chairman, Barnawa branch of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Napoleon Enemali, said the action of the state government was not justifiable and the reason given for it untenable.
He said there was no provision in the Land Use Act that prescribed demolition as sanction for violation of the original purpose of a building.
Speaking with Vanguard, President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, Shetima Yerima, said the resort to such action by the state government was harmful to peaceful engagement.
According to him, sentiments should not be the basis of engagement by any governor.