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Residents Protest Proposed Demolition Of Buildings By Kaduna Govt.

Some aggrieved residents of Lokoja, Gwari and Muri roads in Kaduna metropolis have held a peaceful protest against plan by the Kaduna State Government to demolish their buildings.

The residents, mostly artisans, said they were served notice of eviction through the Chairman of Kaduna North Local Government Council, to vacate their shops and residential buildings within two weeks, after which they will be demolished.

Spokesman for the aggrieved residents, Mr Abiola Eneja, said the two-weeks ultimatum given to them to vacate their shops was too short, and more-so they had all valid papers for their shops.

He appealed to the State government to provide them with an alternative land where they could build new shops, or at least give them sufficient time to relocate.

Reports says the area is home to majority of the commercial printing houses in the state capital, with over 300 shops being marked for demolition.

Carrying placards and singing protest songs, the shop owners marched along the roads to show their anger over the proposed demolition.

In the copy of the eviction notice obtained by Channels Television’s correspondent, dated August 5, 2015, the council based its action on the state’s 1958 township building rules and Environmental Protection Law of 2010.

The notice, however, warned that any violator of the eviction order would be dealt with.

In reaction to this, the printers said their opinions were not sought on the planned demolition and they were only presented with a fait accompli.

They also explained that the land was allocated to them by the government to build their shops more than 25 years ago, wondering why the government wants to evict them from the same land.

The Senator representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly, Shehu Sani, described the ongoing demolition exercise by the State government as harsh and anti-people.

Mr Sani advised the government to trade with caution, in order not to plunge the citizens into severe hardship.

While addressing a coalition of youth groups and Civil Society Organisations, who marched to his office to support the ongoing demolition exercise, Governor Nasir El-Rufai said his administration would continue to resist any attempt by land grabbers to take over schools and hospital lands in the state.

He added that those with genuine papers and had obtained valid building permits would be adequately compensated.

Two weeks ago, about 93 private buildings illegally erected within a government secondary school premises in Zaria were demolished by the Kaduna State Urban Development Authority (KAPSUDA), while over 700 others including shops, hotels and worship centres have been marked for demolition in Zaria and the state capital for being illegally erected on government lands.

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