Amnesty International Begs ‘Demolition’ el-Rufai Not to Make 5000 People Homeless

Implicated Kaduna government demolished Sheikh Zakzaky family house, mother's grave

Amnesty International (AI) has appealed to Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, to halt the plans to demolish over 1,000 houses at Gbagyi Villa in Kaduna state.

The group said should the Kaduna state government go ahead with the plan, an estimated number of 5,000 people would be left homeless.

The human rights body said information at its disposal shows that the government has no alternative arrangement for residents for the houses earmarked for demolition.

“The Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA) has issued a 21-day demolition notices to some residents of Gbagyi Villa, Kaduna state, on four occasions between 4 November 2015 and 16 March 2016,” the group said in a statement.

“Amnesty International has seen these notices and some of the houses marked X. Residents say they have not been consulted about the planned demolition, and no alternative housing or compensation has been offered. The residents initiated a court case on 10 March and obtained an injunction against the planned demolition.

“Despite the ongoing court case, the governor of Kaduna state visited the community on 21 July and publicly said that houses which have allegedly encroached on the land belonging to the Kaduna State Polytechnic, and built without title documents and building permits, will be demolished even before the conclusion of the court case.

“Each of the houses marked for demolition has an average of five residents. Therefore, should the demolitions go ahead, at least five thousand people (including, men, women and children) will be left homeless and vulnerable to a range of human rights violations. Many of the residents, who are either the original farmland owners or those who bought land from its original owners, and their tenants, do not have the demanded title documents, as these are difficult and costly to obtain.”

The statement said many of the affected buildings obtained permits from the government, wondering why the action should go on.