From Jibrin Miachi, Kaduna
The intra-party crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State took a new turn on Tuesday when Governor Nasir el-Rufai demolished the secretariat of the faction of the party led by Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi.
Senator Hunkuyi who represents Kaduna North Senatorial District, owns the property, which he donated to the rival APC for use as its secretariat.
The action was greeted with protest as the Senate declares it a�?total tyrannya�?.
The demolition was allegedly carried out in the early hours of yesterday under the supervision of the governor amidst tight security by police and military personnel.
Eyewitness accounts said that the a�?planned action without noticea�? was carried out at 5 am on Tuesday.
The property, located at 11B Sambo Road, a stone-throw from Kaduna State House of Assembly, housed the factional secretariat of APC under the chairmanship of Danladi Wada, who last Thursday issued Governor el-Rufai query for a�?anti-party activitiesa�?.
Following the governora��s refusal to respond to the query within 48 hours as demanded, he was on Sunday suspended for six months.
However, the Director-General of Kaduna Geographic Information Service (KADGIS), Mr. Ibrahim Husseini, said that the demolition of the property was apolitical.
According to him, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KAPSUDA) is currently undertaking operations across Kaduna metropolis in compliance with its mandate.
The AUTHORITY learnt that the bulldozer, which pulled down the building, was accompanied by a�?armed soldiers who blocked both sides of the road leading to the building around 5 am. On arrival, they ordered those that were inside to vacate the building before demolition”.
A senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the demolition was carried out by the Kaduna State Urban and Property Development Agency (KASUPDA). He argued that the property was allocated for residential purposes and not for political activities.
Another source said that the property was demolished because the senator has not renewed his ground rent running into millions for eight consecutive years.
But the KADGIS boss said: “This morning a building on 11B Sambo Close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010.
a�?This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road.
“KADGIS issued a revocation notice of statutory right of occupancy No. KD. 16712 that covers 11B Sambo Close in the Ungwan Rimi Area. The appropriate notice of revocation was delivered at 28, Inuwa Wada Road, the registered address of the company which held the title to the property.
a�?The notice was also delivered to the building in question, and sent by post to the registered address of the previous title holder.
“The land has now been allocated to KASUPDA for the purpose of developing and maintaining a public park that will provide a green area and a serene place for recreation in that residential neighbourhooda�?.
This is the second time a party leader in Kaduna has suffered similar fate in an action described as a�?political vendettaa�? by observers.
The property of the APC Deputy National Chairman (North West), Inuwa Abdul Kadri, was the first casualty. It was demolished in May 2017.
*Senate condemns demolition
The Senate on Tuesday condemned the demolition of the structure and cautioned the Executive against lawlessness
The resolution was prompted by a a�?Point of Odera�? raised by Senator Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna), during the plenary.
Rising under order 43, Sani said: a�?In the last two and half years, we have been faced with tyranny and open dictatorship in Kaduna State. My constituency office was attacked by violent thugs and it has also been clear that armed military personnel and policemen have been consistently used by the governor to intimidate and harass people who dona��t agree with him.
a�?How can a governor, a democratically elected governor, demolish a house without notice simply for the fact that we have set up an office different from the one he had personalised as a so-called party man.
a�?It is of concern to us that these actions by the governor had been done in the name of Mr. President, whom he believes, he is his son that he so much lovesa�?.
The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, condemned the act, saying that democracy has no place for tyranny and impunity.
a�?If we decide to go on the path of democracy, we must accept some of the things that come with it, and one is the rule of law.
a�?If we have any kind of grievance, that grievance should be settled in the law courts and not using force or the weight of our office. I believe this is one of the reasons why Nigerians are opposed to the issue of immunity, especially for chief executives.
*Kaduna APC seeks removal of GOC, goes to court
Also yesterday, the faction of the APC affected by the demolition, called for the immediate removal of the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division, Nigerian Army, for allegedly meddling in the politics of the state.
In a statement issued by the partya��s Director of Administration, Yahaya Shinko, he asked the Chief of Army Staff to relieve the GOC of his job for meddling into partisan politics.
Shinko said: a�?The GOC allowed his men to give cover to the governor with trucks numbering over 20, fully loaded with military personnel and carried out the shameless act, thereby bringing the military to disreputea�?.
From Jibrin Miachi, Kaduna