The Kaduna Human Rights Association has written to outgoing Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State to protest what they described as last minute looting of public assets by senior government officials in collaboration with some civil servants.
In the petition signed by its executive director, Sadau Garba, and dated April 23, 2015, the rights group also demanded that the state government suspend the issuance of statutory rights of occupancy in the state. In addition, the group urged the governor to freeze the accounts of the state’s 23 local government councils.
“The information at our disposal revealed that some Kaduna State government officials are currently going into some government landed properties within the state with the sole aim of acquiring carved out plots of land to themselves and some selected individuals before the expiration of the tenure of the present regime,” the group said in its statement. It listed the affected properties as including No. 6 Wurno Road, Government Reservation Area (GRA) in Kaduna and the Eid Ground located along Maje-Park Road in Zaria.
The statement reminded the governor that the Land Use Act empowered him “to superintend and to hold in trust all lands within the state and more particularly to protect and preserve public lands in the state.”
The group also touched on the mismanagement of local government funds in the state. “The information we received regarding the operations of the 23 local government council joint accounts in the state is worrisome. These local government area councils are presently under the control of illegal contraptions called caretaker committees that are not recognized by our laws, and supervised by the Ministry for Local Governments.
“For prudent management of resources and accountability, withdrawals from their joint accounts must be suspended forthwith to enable the incoming administration to start on a good pedestal,” the group said.
It then asked Mr. Yero “to address the issues raised herein immediately for the peace and progress of our dear state and the survival of our nascent democracy.”