May 29, 2023, marked the beginning of a new administration in Nigeria, not only at the federal level but across various states. 

In their first week in office, Nigerians have already begun to give the new administration the bombastic side-eye for the recent increase in fuel prices, and residents of Kano State are struggling with mixed emotions regarding the recent demolition spree that their new governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, undertook. It’s giving who this?

What exactly is happening in Kano?

On government-owned lands that Abdullahi Ganduje, the former governor of Kano state sold, a task force under the direction of Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf started demolishing buildings early on June 3, 2023. The buildings affected so far include:

  • A three-storey building with 90 shops along the Kano Race Course, popularly known as Filin Sukuwa.
Source: Abdulrasheed Hussain/Citizen
  • Daula Hotel: the three-star hotel consisted of 50 rooms, a restaurant, and four executive rooms, among other facilities.
Source: Abdulrasheed Hussain/Citizen

Former Kano governor, Adbdullahi Ganduje, commissioned

the Daula hotel nine days ago, on May 27, 2023. 
Source: Abdulrasheed Hussain/Citizen
  • Structures on the Hajj camp were also demolished, and orders were given out to all developers to stop construction.

What’s the reason behind the demolitions?

Governor Abba Yusuf, through his chief press secretary, Sanusi Bature, insists that the exercise is to fulfil his campaign promise to solve the land-grabbing issue in Kano state, especially as his predecessor, Abdullahi Ganduje, sold many public properties and assets. However, many residents think that the ongoing demolitions are acts of vendetta, with claims that Ganduje sold these properties to his relatives and close associates. 

Let’s feel the pulse

Citizen contacted Engineer Rabiu Sufi, who owns Lamash Properties, the developers of Daula Hotel, and he gave background on the situation. Sufi said his company had entered into a partnership agreement under the Ganduje administration to redevelop the Old Daula Hotel, and “on the successful restoration of the hotel, former governor Abdullahi Ganduje commissioned the project two days before the end of his administration.”

He laments that the building was demolished without prior warning. Before the redevelopment, the Daula Hotel had been out of official use for over 25 years, and residents claimed that drug-abusing individuals had turned it into their makeshift den. The Daula hotel was expected to help with employment and generate revenue for the state. 

Sufi, over a phone call, says they’re already taking steps to sue the Kano state government and demand ₦10 billion as compensation. 

What are people in Kano saying?

Aisha, a resident of Hotoro, expressed surprise at the swift demolition, considering that the new governor had taken office only a week ago. “The entire situation is really sad as it has turned youths to looting. Do you know that there are memes encouraging people to loot demolished shops?” she shared with Citizen.

Muhammed, who lives in Brigade, thinks the demolitions are signs that the Abba Yusuf-led government will be active. According to him, “more expectations have developed regarding what he could do to other critical areas that require a similar effort,” while applauding the new governor

While the Kano state government’s intention to curb land grabbing and reclaim public assets is viewed positively, residents remain sceptical, perceiving it as politically motivated retaliation against the former governor. Many residents also criticise the approach, considering it wasteful to destroy valuable properties. Instead, the buildings, worth billions of naira, could have been reclaimed as government property on government land. However, there is still optimism for a brighter future in Kano under the new administration.

This report was made possible with the invaluable assistance of Abdulrasheed Hussain, a journalist and news editor from Kano State. Hussain’s contributions included providing sources, visiting the sites, capturing photographs, and facilitating interviews with residents of the state to better understand the situation.



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