…Urges Speaker’s intervention to avert a likely breakdown of peace.
by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN, otherwise known as Shiites, has called on Speaker of Kaduna State Assembly to quickly intervene in the ongoing demolition of 48 properties of the movement across state and LGAs, in other to avert a likely outbreak of peace of the good people of Kaduna State and environs.
This was contained in an open letter to the Hon. Speaker, Kaduna Sate House of Assembly (KASHA), by nine members of the movement, in the latter written and signed by Barristers I.A. Ishaq and four other lawyers of the Law Chambers of Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
In the letter addressed to the Speaker, on behalf of the nine clients, the IMN described it as unconstitutional, illegal, wrongfully, mischievous, and undesirable demolition of valuable immovable properties by the forever outgoing Governor of Kaduna State, Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai.
The letter, made available to our correspondent weekending, is entitled, ‘Request for quick intervention of the House and serious caution to avert likely breach of peace of the good people of Kaduna State,’ is also copied to 14 other organizations, including the media.
“Our Office is one of the Law Chambers of Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, briefed by the respective owners of the landed properties widely spread in Kaduna metropolis and indeed in all the Local Government Headquarters of Kaduna State of Nigeria, including their town, villages and Wards, and we have their instruction to address to you their grievance through this medium to avert a likely outbreak of peace of the good people of Kaduna State and environs.
“For the purposes of accuracy, clarity and precision the names of our clients are: Imam Sadiq Academy Ltd; Tahfiz Fudiyya Zaria Ltd; Fudiyya Nursery And Primary Schools Rigasa; Siddiqa Model Academy Ltd; The family of late Alh. Hamid Danlami Zaria, Saminu Kusa Mohammed; Ahmad Abubakar; Haruna Dan Fulani Unqwan Mu’azu and the Suhada’u Foundation (Ltd) whom we hereinafter refer to as ‘Our Clients’.
“We are informed by our clients that they own landed properties widely spread in Kaduna State wherein buildings were erected on most or all of them.
“The said buildings comprise of Schools, Hospitals, Sachet Water Plants and numerous other investments for the general welfare and wellbeing of the Muslim community and citizens of Kaduna State,” it stated.
According to the letter to the Speaker, “Five of our clients, out of the nine are persons corporate with power to own landed properties anywhere in Nigeria with also the power and Legal capacity to sue and be sued in their corporate names and a common seal.
“It is a trite Company Law and practice that the company is itself a different entity entirely from its directors and subscribers and, come what may, the legal liability of the company is different from that of its Members, Shareholders and Directors.
“The other persons in the list of our clients are natural persons whose respective lands were allocated in their names. We hereby attach relevant documents for the Honourable Speaker’s comprehension and appreciation of the subject-matter.”
According to the letter, the affected persons got in touch with a certain document, dated the 20th April, 2023, and with reference no: PS/DFF/7A/21/338 authored by one Ismail Umaru Dikko, which was addressed to the Principal Private Secretary (PPS) of the Kaduna State Government House, Sir Kashim Ibrahim Way Kaduna, through the Commissioner, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
“And the contents are that, some properties were listed for demolition and under number one thereof, certain properties ‘across the state’ was stipulated, even though the alleged properties ‘across the state’ were not listed.
“Again, Sir, the reason for the demolition of the properties ‘across the state,’ as indicted in the letter is ‘Banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).’ We wish to categorically state here, without mincing words nor fear of contradiction that, both the words ‘across the state’ and ‘Banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria’ are vague statements and, indeed, very ambiguous.
“Our clients are proponents of the Shi’a ideology and hence are of the Shia Muslim community in Kaduna State but not under a purportedly ‘Banned Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).’
“We have the instruction of our clients to bring to your knowledge that Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufa’i whose script and agenda KASUPDA is executing knows it clearly that the phrase and nomenclature Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) is fictitious but because it is always better to give a dog a bad name, in order to hang it.
“That is why Nasiru painted our clients in a bad shape, in order to justify his atrocities and mayhem on their properties knowing fully that there is no any Muslim group in Nigeria with such description and nomenclature, so much for it to own a property, landed or otherwise in Kaduna State,” it noted.
It added that “When the clients got the information of the wanton destruction of their properties under the guise of the purportedly ‘banned Islamic Movement of Nigeria,’ they directly joined hands in filing suit before the High Court of Kaduna State under a representative capacity for and on behalf of the entire Shia Muslim community of Kaduna State, who are the direct beneficiaries of our client’s kind gesture and investment.
“The case is Suit No. KDH/KAD/Z/276/23 (See processes attached). In the said suit, Sir, our clients are seeking for a perpetual injunction (among other reliefs) restraining the Defendants Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, the Kaduna State Government, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) and the Director-General KASUPDA, Ismai’l Umaru Dikko, from carrying out their inimical, barbaric and primordial destruction and demolition of our client’s landed property.
“It may interest the Speaker to know that, our clients are law abiding citizens of Nigeria and, as such, are entitled to the full flavor of their Fundamental Rights under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and this is with particular emphasis to the dual Rights to Freedom of Association and Property,” it also stated.
The statement noted that, the El-Rufai-led administration has actually been committing atrocities against the Shi’a Community to which our clients belong in Kaduna State since 2015 when he assumed office.
It added that, “If not that our clients are people of good character, attribute, peace and harmony, they would have resorted to violence by now.
“However, with the current situation on ground, if the Speaker and the House does not take a drastic action to address the issue of this unwanted, unwarranted and undesirable wanton destruction of our client’s properties, our clients would be compelled to resort to other solutions, which may not be necessary favourable to the harmonious and peaceful co-existence of the good people of Kaduna State.”
They reminded Speaker that “Section 60 of the KASUPDA Law itself does not give Nasiru the powers to do as his doing currently, but only gives KASUPDA powers to demolish illegal structures that do not comply with the requirement of the law as to acquisition, no more no less.
“Therefore, we make bold without any fear of contradiction the reason for the demolition of our client’s properties by Nasiru El-Rufai is not captured under the KASUPDA law itself but rather acquiesced and manipulated by Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufa’i in accordance to his whims, caprices, ill-motive and self-aggrandizement.
“This informs our choice of words – mischievous, unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful, wrongful – and this is to say the least, very unfortunate and unbecoming of a democratically-elected Governor of a State.
“It is for this reason and numerous others not mentioned that we have the instructions of our clients to address their grievances through your good offices as the Honourable Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, the arm of government that serves as a check on the ill-acquired authority and powers of Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufa’i, who will be quitting office forever as the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, come 29th May, 2023, which is just by the door side.
“It is rather unfortunate that destruction of our client’s properties has already started in Rigasa, Tudun Nupawa, Maraban Jos and other parts of Kaduna and Zaria metropolis, contrary to even the notice that KASUPDA gave of commencing demolition on the 30th of May, 2023.
“Instead, the demolition started from the nights of 20th, 21st and 22nd of May, 2023, and he is most likely to continue his destruction, as 48 landed properties were earmarked for the said demolition,” it lamented.