There is apprehension presently in Kaduna as protesters in their thousands loaded in several vehicles stormed the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna State council protesting the planned demolition of their houses by the state government under the leadership of Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
The protesters who were largely women and children among the men, cried profusely and uncontrollably, stressing that their pains and poverty are about to be aggravated should the state government go ahead with the planned demolition.
Leading the protesters, Mallam Usman Aliyu told Journalists that over 300 hundred of their houses have been marked for demolition in the next two weeks by the Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA).
The houses, he said, are located behind the state library, Kofan Doka in Zaria local government area of the state, stressing that there some of the houses marked for demolition were built over 20 years before the state library was built.
According to him, the state government should temper justice with mercy, adding that they voted for change and not demolition or making them poorer than they are.
Also speaking amidst tears, Hajiya Aisha Abdullahi said, “walahi, we regret voting for this government because of a truth, we voted for change but this is not the change we voted for. We are poor people and now our pains is about to be increased as we are about to be made homeless and thrown into the cold with our children.
Lamenting also, Hajiya Habiba Usman in an apparent frustration said, “we want the governor to look at us with the eye of mercy, we have lived there all our lives and we don’t have. We cannot afford to rent any house or purchase any land because of our present condition, so we are appealing to the government to come to our aid.”
Some of the placards carried by the protesters reads: ‘we voted for change not demolition’ ‘don’t make us homeless,’ ‘end forceful eviction,’ ‘ we are dying of poverty don’t make our condition worst,’ among several others.
The protesters said, they have been served three weeks notice to evacuate their belongings and vacate the said land, with only two weeks left.
Recall that the state government has reiterated it’s commitment severally to recover all the school and hospital lands acquired by individuals or organisations.