A group, the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative, has petitioned the US, European Union, China and others over the recent demolition embarked upon by Governor Abba Yusuf-led government in Kano State.
In a petition signed by its national coordinator, Okpokwu Ogenyi, the Coalition demanded a visa ban on Yusuf and his family members over his “anti-democratic activities and human rights violations,” orchestrated barely six days after his assumption of office as governor.
The petition dated July 7, 2023, titled “Violation of human rights and anti-democratic actions of Mr Abba Yusuf, the Executive Governor of Kano State, an urgent call for Visa Ban”, has been received and acknowledged by the offices of the countries in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The acknowledged copies made available to newsmen in the early hours of Saturday stressed that during the demolition exercise, lives were lost in the state, which is a serious concern for the group as a civil society organisation.
The petition read, “On behalf of the aforementioned organisation, we commend your steadfastness in maintaining world peace and sustainable democracy in Africa, Nigeria in particular. Your interventions have reversed harsh government policies, reduced corruption and improved military actions, among others.
“We write to formally bring to your table anti-democratic activities and human rights violations orchestrated by the Executive Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, who was inaugurated on May 29, 2023.
“Exactly six days of his assumption in office, Abba Yusuf ordered massive demolition of properties belonging to Kano State indigenes and investors who had committed their hard-earned resources to purchase landed property in Kano metropolis.
“Our investigation revealed that the previous administration had allocated lands to individuals and corporate allottees who legally applied for land in Kano State. Some of whom the lands were allocated had sold to other interested parties and had transferred ownership with evidence of financial payment to the State Government treasury.
“In one of the plots, a 90-room hotel was built at a cost of over N10 billion, an investment that is to create job opportunities for the unemployed youths in Kano State, serves as a resort and a conversion of a criminal hideout into a befitting business environment. It is sad that Governor Abba Yusuf, within six days in office, demolished it without following due process.
“Furthermore, Governor Abba Yusuf also demolished without due process a 90-shop plaza already completed in Kano metropolis.
“He went further and demolished a beautiful roundabout designed and built by a female architect living abroad, an indigene of Kano State, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kano State, which cost about N160m.
“Governor Abba Yusuf and his state officials also demolished the properties of a China-based Nigerian who acquired land and developed the same in Kano State using his life savings. He is an indigene of Kano State.
“In addition, houses of people perceived to have been allocated land by the former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s administration were demolished without any provocation.
“Sir, as of today, Governor Abba Yusuf has demolished property worth over N206 million, with almost every home crying in Kano metropolis.
“Further inquest revealed that the governor is demolishing these properties because the plots were allocated by the previous administration of Abdullahi Ganduje to slight the former Governor and satisfy the New Nigeria People’s Party’s political desire to destroy any development linked to the former governor’s administration.
“We insist that the former governor is not the owner of these properties and the people should not be made to face pain and loss because of political differences between the current and former governors. If the former governor has any wrongdoing, the state should invite him to answer questions instead of inflicting unwarranted pain on the people.
“During this demolition exercise, lives were lost, which is a serious concern to us as a civil society organisation. We had given the governor of Kano State a 72-hour ultimatum to stop further demolition and call a roundtable in view of compensating the affected persons whose houses were demolished.
“It is clear that the governor has refused to listen to the voice of reason as he went further and marked more houses for continuous demolition. It is devastating to watch your property destroyed before your very eyes. The governor should be called to order.
“In view of the above, we request a visa ban on the Executive Governor of Kano State, Abba Yusuf, all Kano State officials, and the National Leadership of the NNPP. This will go a long way in reshaping the state government’s anti-people policies, which are politically motivated, and redirect the state government’s focus to even development.
“At the moment, the visa ban is the only measure that could call the governor to order and indeed prevail on him to practise democracy in a democratic manner.”