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Thursday, October 14, 2021

Nigeria: Bauchi - Why We Demolished Lawmaker's Building

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

Following the controversy trailing the demolition of a building belonging to a member representing the Bauchi federal constituency, in the House of Representatives, Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, the Bauchi State Government has reacted to the development, saying the construction of the building violated the government policy of land administration.

Addressing a press conference at the Government House in Bauchi yesterday, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mukhtar Gidado, said it has become necessary for the state government to set the record straight and disabuse the minds of the public on any insinuation on the demolition saga.

Gidado, who was reacting on behalf of the state government, said on October 1 2021, the state government demolished an ongoing 'illegal' construction work of a house at number 7 Buba Yaro road in the state belonging to a member of the House of Representatives due to factors which contravened the laws of the government in connection to land.

According to him, "The government approved the sale of some of its residential houses to occupants on owner-occupier basis; however, government houses on Buba Yaro road in old GRA in Bauchi popularly referred to as commissioners' quarters are exempted from this policy.

The said house on Buba Yaro road was allocated on June 23, 2014, to the state House of Assembly to serve as guest house.

"In spite of the exemption of the houses on Buba Yaro road from the owner-occupier policy of the state government, the then commissioner for Works, Land and Housing, under the past administration of Alhaji Abubakar Tatari Ali allocated the house to himself, using a fictitious name of one Mohammed Kabir of Danjuma Goje Street, Bauchi. The house was later sold to Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, a member representing Bauchi federal constituency in House of Representatives at the cost of N9 million."

The Special Adviser said there was no record in the Treasury or Ministry of Housing to show that the amount was paid into the government coffers, adding that the whole proceeds from the sale of the house did not follow due process because the value of the house was not accessed by relevant government agencies, and the approval from the governor was not obtained.

He said following the sale of the house, the state House of Assembly wrote to inform the state government on October 20, 2019, about the development, after which the government requested Shehu Abdullahi to provide documentary evidence of the sale of the house to him, which up till now, the lawmaker has not provided.

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Gidado said the state judiciary on the January 17, 2021, officially wrote to inform the state government that the house was used as a hideout for criminal elements that have been terrorising residents of the area.

He said: "Upon receiving the report of the state House of Assembly and the judiciary, the state government directed its relevant agencies to investigate the matter. In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Hon Yakubu Abdullahi had demolished the main building of the property and commenced construction of a new structure on the site.

"A notice of revocation was served on Abdullahi on September 21 and 23, 2021, in respect to the certificate of occupancy fraudulently granted him by the then commissioner of Works, Land and Housing under the administration of Abubakar Tatari Ali, and the revocation notice was duly acknowledged.

"In spite of the revocation order, Abdullahi continued with the construction work at the site. Consequently, the state development board marked the building for stop-work order on September 27, 2021, which also he refused to comply."

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