By Garba Mohammed, Posted July 29th, 2006 It will be difficult to give a title to this piece without being pigeon-holed! But the truth has to be said.
One major gain (there are many) of the Obasanjo administration is successfully ‘recreating’ the “middle-class”. With this come a lot of opportunities, job creation and varied ventures.
One not too obvious development is the birth of whole communities of ‘middle-class’; civil servants, businessmen that have acquired the ability to own the roof over their heads. This you will agree should excite anybody and build hope in the democratic ‘experiment’. Infrequent visitors to such communities will be amazed at the rate buildings spring up, even though they may not all be architectural master pieces. I am sure as you read this, you can identify such communities and if you don’t have a house of your own, you will admire such fast growing ‘towns’ and pray for the day you will be among the new ‘landlords’.
One of such fast-growing communities is currently facing the dangers of being visited by “government bulldozers”.
Behind the ‘fence’ of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology is the fast developing Angwar Yusi, fondly called “Graceland” by many of the landowners said to be predominantly non-indigenes and of the Christian faith.
A visit to the community shows that not many of the developers are aware of the impending danger of likely losing their homes and houses to government bulldozers as construction is going on in very many sites.
During the last visit, at least seven houses were being roofed while more than that same number are getting close to the roofing level.
Sources close to the writer confirmed that the Aviation brick fence (part of which has fallen down) was erected sometimes in 2001 after a dispute between the land owners and the College, which led to identifying the position of their beacons.
Another view of the fallen fence, showing houses facing the fence.
The current situation I gathered may not be unconnected with the desire to expand the Aviation College to handle the servicing of commercial aircrafts following the spate of air crashes in the country. It is believed that the Aviation Ministry will want to build a bigger and longer runway to handle the large aircrafts before giving it to a private company to manage.
It also suspected that there might have been a proposal to acquire the entire area in the past, for which money must have been released but ………
What has baffled everyone is the attitude with which the College is carrying on. The residents have not been officially contacted but there is a lot of intimidation with the College bringing bus–loads of people (including top-ranking police officers) to come and “verify” their own claims and I suppose, to justify the action(s) they have made up their minds to take…….”demolishing the houses” without paying appropriate compensation.
There are however very many questions begging for answers with this unfolding drama;
Some of the houses I gathered have been there for about 20years!
Majority of the houses ‘sprang up’ in the last 5years (especially after Aviation College erected their perimeter fence and it was believed the land is not in dispute)!
Some of the land owners say they have or are processing their State’s C of O!
Why did it take the College so long before coming out to “re-claim” their land?
Where were they looking when these houses started springing up? The roofs of these houses are visible from the Sokoto Road and Aviation College has the added advantage of aerial view as they fly their planes.
How can the Kaduna State lands authority be unaware that the land belongs to Aviation College?
How was the fence erected? A capital project like that would have needed ministerial approval!
Why come out 5 years after erecting the fence, “misleading” people and still believing that you can just overrun everything on ground?
The Hausa society is advanced and well organized. No one buys land without the community heads knowing about it. Some residents confirmed that their local titles to the land (receipt of purchase) were counter signed by the Ward Head and District Head (even before they can get approval from KASUPDA on their building plans).
The unfolding drama will be an opportunity for the Community Leaders and Royal Fathers to demonstrate their protection for their subjects irrespective of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The Aviation College seen through a broken section of the fence.
While the drama unfolds, I am told the name ‘Aviation’ is rarely mentioned in some homes, as it brings the picture of an “insensitive big master” that will sacrifice anything to get what they want.
This I gather, is what worries some of the landlords; they wonder if their rights will not be sacrificed by the powers that be when the chips are down. It is common knowledge that Angwar Yusi is mainly a Christian community with even some churches owning properties there.
At this point, all we can do is “wait” and believe that, justice which is the essence of governance, will not only be done, but would be seen to be done.
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