By Danjuma Byang
Mal Nasiru Ahmed El Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, would do well if he left the government house and became a comedian to entertain his fans with his uncanny sense of humor! Or how else would one describe his recent vituperations against the Gbagyi villa residents? He threatened to pull down a settlement with more than 3000 houses and 46 churches for encroaching into the Kaduna Polytechnic land. We understand that the issue is an old dispute between the residents and the polytechnic, which his predecessor, Gov Patrick Yakowa had waded into and resolved amicably. But upon his assumption of office as governor, and obviously with a lot of water passing under the bridge, he sent his boys to go and place notices of demolition on the community.
From reports reaching us, he didn’t even invite the residents to hear their own side of the story! Armed with their land title deeds and approvals for development issued by the same state government, they took their case to court, as is expected of any reasonable citizen. But when the Governor saw from the proceedings so far that he might not win the case in court he is threatening to go ahead and demolish the settlement, calling them unprintable names! But I think, it’s humorous for the governor to even think of doing so because the consequences of his actions would be unquantifiable! Let’s see some of them:
1. Would it not be contempt of court for the governor to take action on a case already before a court of law? If the governor, the chief law enforcement officer of the state, contemptuously breaks the law, would he not be inviting anarchy in the state if the citizens also take the law in their hands to resist him?
2. Gbagyi villa is a 100% Christian community with more than half of them from Southern Kaduna. If he goes ahead with his demolition plans how can he defend the charge that he is a religious bigot, who hates Christians with a passion? If Gbagyi villa was inhabited 100% by Muslims would he threaten to demolish it?
3. Many of the residents of Gbagyi villa were forced to relocate there, having been chased out from the northern parts of Kaduna town, like Tudun Wada, Badarawa, Kawo, Angwan Rimi, etc, where they suffered heavy losses of lives and properties during the ‘Sharia Only’ crises that rocked the city. To follow them to where they have resettled and demolish their homes again smacks of double jeopardy! Could it be that Gov El Rufai hates them so much that he doesn’t want to see them anywhere near the capital city?
4. If Gov El Rufai demolishes the homes of a 100% Christian community who have title deeds would he not jeopardize Muslims living on University lands elsewhere, where they don’t even have genuine papers? (Readers from Plateau state may understand what I mean!)
In conclusion, we must warn that Kaduna is a volatile state. Gov El Rufai may precipitate an action that may rupture the fragile peace that exists in the state. The many provocations he has engineered since he became governor have stretched the people’s patience to the limits. There is no telling how far they can go if pushed further! May God forbid bad thing!
By Danjuma Byang