A chorus of public indignation, criticism and anger have trailed the demolition of some corner shops erected on a piece of landed property belonging to Adamawa State polytechnic, Yola (SPY) by the state government as developers said their properties were built in compliance with due process.
One of the developers, Ibrahim Modibbo Jada who spoke to our reporter on phone, expressed dismay over the development saying that the demolition represents the height of executive impunity as the developers have complied with all the stipulated agreements reached with the polytechnic.
“The institution, being an independent body, reserves the right to allocate land to developers.
“It gave us the land based on the principle of ‘Build Operate and Transfer’ (BOT) for 25 years after which we shall transfer the property to the polytechnic. Our transaction with the institution was conducted under a written agreement,” he said.
Jada noted that when the Fintiri government came on board, they started hearing rumors to the effect that the corner shops will be demolished adding that they took the insinuation with a pinch of salt since no official document was sent to them and therefore confined the rumor in the realm of a hearsay.
“We have already begun development when the Fintiri government came on board. The urban planning gave us a stop of work order. Even though our agreement was with the state polytechnic we complied and stopped further work and wrote a complaint to the ministry of justice, urban planning and the school authority but six months after we received no communication from the government while our buildings are being degraded.
“Because of the suspense, we planned to approach the court but somehow, the information that we will approach the court on Monday was leaked to the government. Knowing that the evidence we have are solid and can stand the test of time, the state government hurriedly ordered the demolition before we file our case,” he said.
Jada added that after the Fintiri led administration came on board, a committee was set up to investigate the issue and the committee reported that the allocations of the plots did not follow due process setting the tone for the demolition.
He added that following the report of the committee, the government constituted the implementation committee under the leadership of the permanent secretary, Adamawa state civil service commission, Usman Dada which revoked their allocation and demolish the properties.
“The most disturbing thing here is that the polytechnic with whom we entered into an agreement did not give us notice of demolition nor did they withdraw the agreement we entered into. To compound our predicament the government did not state any form of compensation to us over the demolished properties.
“I have invested N22 million in building my own property which has reached 99 percent completion stage just as other developers also spent hugely in building their properties which are at various stages of completion.
“As developers, we have already arranged to sue the state polytechnic, the implementation committee led by Usman Dada and the construction company that carried out the demolition,” he said.
An amortization agreement form for corner shops/restaurants/open stalls between the school and developers sent to our correspondent by Jada indicated that the arrangement was sealed on February 19, 2018.
I have decided to submit my case to God – Developer
In a phone chat with our reporter, another developer, Mohammed Danjuma said he has decided to submit his case to God.
“Some of us have vowed to take the issue to the court but I have decided to submit my case to God,” he said.
Danjuma added that he decided to adopt the measure because he has complied diligently with due processes before he started development on the piece of land adding that as a citizen of the state, who is committing his energy and resources towards the development of the state, he will not wage any war against the state government.
“I have diligently followed all due process of the law. We applied for BOT and agreed to return the property to the institution after 25 years. The school allocated plots to us, gave us building plans with the consent of the urban planning and the immediate past government. We built the properties under strick supervision of the school.
“Since we started development, nobody marked the properties with red paint until this government came on board. As a law-abiding citizen, I took my complaint to many officials of the present government but the government has already made its mind to demolish the buildings. As such I decided to submit my case to God,” he said.
The state government has on Saturday, demolished the properties, sparking complaints especially by the affected developers.
Plots acquired illegally – Govt insists
Responding to inquiries by FOMBINATIMES on the subject, the Director-General, Media and Communications to Governor Fintiri, Solomon Kumangar insisted that the plots were allocated illegally and the government will never allow such illegality to sail through no matter whose ox will be gored.
“These allocations were made after the election, even after the supplementary election. The governor-elect then has said these illegalities will be reversed,” Kumangar said.
He noted that even after the inconclusive election the last administration continued to make illegal allocations apparently to pitch the people against the present government.
Kumangar pointed that despite warnings by the Governor-elect that he will not spare anyone who builds on the illegally acquired plots, the allottees went ahead and develop the plots with the speed of light.
“The action was taken to pitch the people against the government. You cannot build something on illegality and be spared. Even if you build a sky scrapper it would be demolished,” he added.
He noted that some of the allocations of school plots were made to people who will develop night clubs and hotels on plots belonging to schools adding that the government will never condone such immorality.