One dead, many injured as residents protest against demolition

A woman was yesterday reported dead, while others sustained injuries following a protest against the demolition of Gbagyi Villa residential complex in Kaduna metropolis, allegedly ordered by the Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

It was learnt that hundreds of youths and residents of the area and environs came out to protest against demolition of houses and other structures, when they sited bulldozers and armed security men deployed for the exercise, reports The Guardian.

•Governor El-Rufai

Eyewitnesses, in the area, told newsmen that uniform men started shooting to scare away resilient youths who were chanting songs and slogans.

According to the witness, a woman simply identified as Sarah allegedly collapsed when her blood pressure (BP) shot up on hearing news of the demolition and gunshots.

The victim was rushed to the hospital for medical attention, but unfortunately she gave up the ghost before getting to the hospital.

However, the youths, who massively came out to defend the Gbagyi villa, vowed to take their destinies into their hands, especially following a court judgment earlier secured by the residents against the demolition.

One of the residents, Lukas Daniel said: “If the authority that is supposed to defend the judgment is now rising against the community in total disobedience to the judgment, we wonder about the kind of society we are living in, and the legacy the government is leaving behind.”

According to him, “Though some houses had been demolished while the youths were resisting, their resilience eventually prevailed, and Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency (KASUPDA) with the security men retreated with a promise to return in a surprise attack, perhaps at night.”

Another resident, who simply identified himself as Haruna, lamented: “The same government that imposed hard times on the masses is now out to round off by causing more havoc in destroying the little roof we have over our heads.”

He added: “Following the court judgment in favour of the Gbagyi Villa community, El-Rufai asked us to fill a form for regularisation at the cost of N20,000 and majority had done that.

“Again, just about ten days ago, KASUPDA brought a letter that El-Rufai had ordered that all building approval obtained before the court case is null and void, asking us to start processing new building approval and new building plan with dates not earlier than May 2023.

“He gave us 60 days to start the process through KASUPDA and we are ready to comply; as we have visited KASUPDA to commence fresh process of approval for our houses, including those who had prior approval, but KASUPDA officials said the forms are not yet ready.

“It is not yet 60 days based on the notice KASUPDA gave us and we didn’t even say we are not ready to abide by the obnoxious policy, just to allow peace to reign.

“They are the people that are not even ready with the forms needed; yet this afternoon the same Kaduna State government through the KASUPDA invaded Gbagyi Villa and started demolishing our houses. If not that we took our destinies into our hands and resisted them with support of youths from other surrounding communities, they would have brought down our houses, even though they are threatening to return.

“Now, an innocent law abiding woman, managing her BP, has been sent to her untimely death. Why should they be inflicting unbearable pain on the masses?” he queried. When contacted, spokesperson for KASUPDA, Nuhu Garba, promised to respond to the issue, but could not do so at press time.



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