The Bauchi State government on Monday cleared the air on the alleged victimisation of the member representing Bauchi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, leading to the demolition of his house at Old GRA, Bauchi.
The controversial building, located at 7, Buba Yero Road, Old GRA, in the state capital, was on the 1st October 2021 demolished by officials of the state government, a development Abdullahi claimed was as a result of his political differences with the state governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed.
According to him, “The (demolition) was carried out because I am a member of APC. That is why I am treated that way.”
Abdullahi informed that he bought the land on which he built the demolished house from a former Head of Service in the state and subsequently followed all necessary procedures, including registering it with the state Ministry of Lands, where he paid the sum of N360,000.
However, while briefing the press on the controversy trailing the demolition, the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the Governor, Mukhtar Mohammed Gidado, said the property in contention was allocated to the Bauchi State House of Assembly to serve as a guest house on 23rd June 2014.
The governor’s media aide informed that the property was among those referred to as Commissioners Quarters exempted from government existing policy that allowed for some of its residential houses to be sold to their occupants on an owner-occupier basis subject to the governor’s approval.
He said despite being exempted from being sold on the owner-occupier basis, the then Commissioner for Works, Land and Housing under the past administration, Abubakar Tatari Ali, allocated the house to himself using the fictitious name of one Mohammed Kabir of Danjuma Goje Street, Bauchi.
“The house was later sold to Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, the member representing Bauchi Local Government at the House of Representatives at the cost of nine million Naira (N9,000,000.00),” Gidado informed.
He informed that despite the violation of the existing policy, there was no record either in the state treasury or Ministry of Housing to show that the N9 million was paid into government coffers, while the whole process of the purported sale of the house did not follow due process.
“Following the purported sale of the house to Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, the State House of Assembly wrote to inform the Government on 28/10/2019 about the development since the house had earlier been allocated to them to serve as a Guest House.
“Consequently, the Government formally requested Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi to provide documentary evidence of the sale of the house to him, which up to this moment, he has not obliged the State Government with the documents.
“The State Judiciary had also on 17th February 2021 wrote to inform the Government that the house was being used as a hideout by criminal elements. These criminal elements have been terrorizing the residents of the neighbouring houses.
“Upon receipt of the reports of the State House of the Assembly and the Judiciary, Government directed its relevant agencies to investigate the matter. In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi had demolished the main building of the property and commenced construction of a new structure at the site.
“A Notice of Revocation was served on Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi on 21st and 23rd September 2021 in respect of the Certificate of Occupancy fraudulently granting him ownership of the property by the then Commissioner of Works, Land and Housing, Abubakar Tatari Ali. The Revocation Notice was duly acknowledged.
“In spite of the revocation order, Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi continued with the construction work on the site. Consequently, the State Development Board marked the building for ‘’Stop Work Order” on 27th September 2021 which he flagrantly refused to comply,” Gidado explained.
He said the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) led a team of government officials to the site on 29th September 2021 to confirm the development.
“Upon reaching the site, the team confirmed the construction work and was confronted by one Ibrahim Ago who threatened fire and brimstone, insulted and threatened the officials.”
According to the SSA, the situation led to an emergency security committee meeting, chaired by the SSG, who briefed the meeting, on the development.
In attendance at the meeting, according to Gidado, were the Commissioner of Police; the Commander 33 Artillery Brigade; Director DSS; Commandant National Security and Civil Defence Corps; Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice; Commissioner for Land and Survey; Commissioner for Works and Transport and the Special Adviser on Security.
He said the meeting resolved that the state police command consequently, it was resolved should provide security back-up for the demolition exercise, while the Commissioner for Justice should provide the security Service Chiefs in the state with the copies of the relevant documents relating to the case and to file criminal complaints against the said Ibrahim Ago.
‘In compliance with the resolution of the security committee, a team was sent by the State Government on 30/9/2021 to demolish the illegal structure.
“On reaching the site, the team was confronted by thugs hired by Hon. Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi and led by the said Ibrahim Ago. The thugs fired at the team who had to withdraw to avoid casualty.
“On 1st October 2021, the Government again lodged a complaint to the police on the presence and activities of heavily armed hoodlums at the site right behind the Government House. Later that evening the illegal structure was demolished by the State Government,” Gidado revealed.
He then assured that the state government is “up to its responsibility of ensuring safety, security and adherence to the rule of law”.
Gidado, however, warned that government would not allow anybody, no matter how highly placed to compromise its standard, declaring that, “those that seek to dare the Government do so at their own peril.”