Row Over Demolition of Ex- Minister’s Residence In Sokoto



Yusuf SuleimanBy Abdallah El-Kurebe

Isa – Sokoto -October 27, 2013 – In what critics say smacks of political vendetta, a demolition exercise currently being carried out in Isa town by Isa local government of Sokoto State for the construction of a five kilometre township road has affected the house of former Minister of Transport, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman.

The exercise, which begun two weeks ago according to the findings of Newsdairyonline.com has also affected houses of many residents of the town without compensation been paid as a result of the demolition exercise.

When Newsdairyonline.com visited Isa town on Sunday morning, the demolition exercise was being carried out at the house of the former Minister who told our Reporter that his house was not among those marked for demolition.

Muhammad Isa Tsabre, caretaker of the former Minister’s house told Newsdairyonline.com that from his knowledge, Yusuf Suleiman’s house was not on the list of houses to be affected by the demolition exercise.

“I am the caretaker of the former Minister’s house and as far as I know, the house was not among the list of those to be affected by the demolition. They had marked it but later erased the red mark. I was inside the house on Saturday morning when the Public Relations Officer of CGC, the construction firm came to tell me that they had come to demolish the house,” Tsabre told Newsdairyonline.com.

He further said that there is no notice to that effect neither did the District Head, invite the former Minister or his proxy, as he did to those whose houses were earmarked for demolition. “Since there was no notice of demolition served on Yusuf Suleiman or invitation extended by Alhaji Nasiru Malami, the District Head of Isa, it meant that his house was mot earmarked for demolition,” Tsabre added.

No official of CGC, the construction firm was there to confirm if Suleiman’s house was among those marked for demolition.

Alhaji Isa Rilwanu, a former PDP chairman of the local government, whose house was also affected told Newsdairyonline.com that although he got the District Head’s invitation to inform him of the demolition exercise two days ago, when he saw that the house of his neighbour was not affected, he protested.

“The District Head invited me but my neighbour’s house was more on the road than mine. His house was not affected; I saw it as a selective exercise because we have political difference and I therefore protested. They had to yield to my protest and only removed the veranda of my house,” Rilwanu told Newsdairyonline.com.

Along with other people who were affected by the exercise, Rilwanu said that no compensation had been paid anyone.

Speaking with Newsdairyonline.com in a telephone conversation, Alhaji Yusuf Suleiman said that his house was never marked for demolition neither was he informed of the exercise.

“I don’t mind if my house is required to be demolished for development purpose, I can offer it and I wouldn’t need any compensation. But due process should be followed in so doing. I was never informed that my house would be affected.

“In any case, no sensible government should carry out such an exercise without, first of all, paying compensation to the affected people in order for them to prepare for alternatives. This was not done. Their plight was not taken into consideration. This is bad for a government that claims it cares for her people,” Suleiman told Newsdairyonline.com.

Reacting, Isa local government chairman, Alhaji Umar Wali denied knowledge of Suleiman’s house being affected and told Newsdairyonline.com that the exercise was not political but developmental. “There is no politics attached to this exercise. This is for the development of the town. I did not know that his house was affected.”

On the issue of compensation, he said that the state government was responsible for that. “They (the Ministry for Local Government) asked us to pay compensation and we told them we didn’t have the money,” Wali said.

But in another reaction, Alhaji Bello Wamakko, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry said that the five-kilometre road construction was ongoing in all the Local Government headquarters and that only the Chairman of Isa local government council had not written to the Ministry for approval to pay compensation.

“All local government councils, except that of Isa have been given approval to pay compensation to those affected by the demolition. He has not written to us for approval,” Wamakko said.

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