At least three people are feared dead and over 100 houses demolished, after men of Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency (KASUPDA) carried out an overnight demolition exercise near Edi-l Bare Bari Community in Zaria.
Arewa Agenda, a publication of Northern young writers for justice and national development reports that victims of the exercise are traumatised and displaced by the incident.
The victims claimed that the action by KASUPDA did not follow due process, in line with the appropriate legal procedure for such exercise.
Mohammed Isa, one of the people affected by the demolition said: “The KASUPDA people just appeared suddenly and started marking the houses on 6th Jul 2020y. By Tuesday 7th, we got a tip-off from a source within KASUPDA that they are mobilizing security operatives for demolition. By the time they appeared around 9 am and tried to commence demolition, people resisted.
“The DG of KASUPDA ordered the security operatives to shoot them but the DPO was reasonable. He said he had orders to take action on the people, but his conscience won’t allow him to do so. So he retreated with his men, only to reappear at 12:05 am on Wednesday, and level the whole houses in the area by dawn.”
Meanwhile, a senior government official in the State has debunked the claims of the victims, saying they were issued a relevant notice, and all protocols were duly followed.
“You cannot build a house in a place without what you call certificate of occupancy or approved building plan. So definitely they were given notice. But they will not admit it,” he said.
A demolition notice later dated 18th June 2020, which was forwarded to Arewa Agenda by the government official, however, indicated that the residents were given a 21-day ultimatum to relocate.