Barely 48 hours after a High Court in Kano state issued an order, restraining Kano Emirate from allocating plots at Ya’rakwa Eid Praying Ground, the council has gone ahead to do so.
Recall that residents of Darmanawa area in Tarauni Local Government of the state, under the auspices of Darmanawa Layout Development Association, DALDA, on February 2 protested what they described as “illegal takeover” of Y’ar Akwa Eid Praying Ground by the family of late Emir Ado Bayero through Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund.
This came as Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, PCACC, said it is investigating the emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero and his top aides over alleged financial scandal involving the sale of 22 hectares of land to the tune of N1,295,000,000.
Addressing newsmen at the premises of the land on Saturday, the chairman of the eid ground committee, Tijjani Yahaya, said they were surprised that after the court order, they just woke up in the morning to see armed policemen in about five vehicles giving cover to some men who were drafted to demarcate the land.
He recalled that the land in question was donated to the residents of the area by late emir Ado Bayero to be used as eid praying ground, which was subsequently gazetted by the Kano state government, following the creation of Darmanawa Layout in the early 80s.
According to him, in 2019, the association petitioned Bureau for Land Management when they noticed attempts to encroach the land, located at Darmanawa layout, which is the only eid ground in the whole Tarauni Local Government area.
Subsequently, the chairman disclosed that the association approached the emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero against an attempt to grab the land by Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund, an agency of the Kano emirate council, for conversion into residential plots and consequently selling it off.
He further revealed that the emir had asked the contending parties to maintain peace and ordered for investigation into the matter.
“Meanwhile, the association also wrote a petition to the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Agency in October 2020. While we were awaiting the outcome of these petitions, the representatives of the Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund tried to forcefully takeover the eid ground which we successfully scuttled the attempt on December 30, 2020.
“We therefore challenge and call upon the Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund to provide any evidence of ownership of the said eid ground, which has been designated as public on plan number TP/UDB/18 by the then Kano state Urban Development Board as gazetted by the Kano state government,” he said.
Mr Yahaya further stated that in attempt to secure the land from illegal grabbing, the association intimated the emirate council for reminder of its petition, but to its dismay, policemen were deployed to give cover for a team of labourers brought to cut down the trees in the piece if land on Monday, February 1.
He also narrated that after the coming of the policemen, they issued a press conference and subsequently sought audience with the emir again, adding that the emir distanced himself from the attempted takeover of the ground promised to intervene.
The emir, according to Mr Yahaya, mandated Mahe Bashir-Wali, a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police to investigate the matter but to no avail, prompting the residents to go to court and seek redress.
“But, to our dismay, after the issuance of the interim injunction by a High Court by Justice Sanusi Ado Ma’aji, restraining the Ado Bayero Royal City Trust Fund from making further attempt to encroach on the said eid praying ground, we woke up today to see armed policemen again, giving cover for some men drafted to continue demarcation work on the land.
“When we approached the commander leading the team of the policemen, he said he was ordered to deploy his men there and was not aware of any court order,” he said.
Mr Yahaya said he called the state Commissioner of Police and informed him of the development, adding that the CP had asked him (Mr Yahaya) to forward the copy of the court order to him.
He expressed hope that the CP would obey the court and order the withdrawal of the policemen, noting that “as Ramadan approaches, eid prayer would be conducted on the land.”
“The presence of a detachment of armed policemen under the command of a superintendent of police, besieged our layout and the whole community in the later part of yesterday, 1st February, 2021 and gave cover to a team of people with cutlasses who proceeded to cut down all the trees that have been grown on the eid ground for over 15 years and provide shade to the teeming members of the congregation during the eid prayer sessions.
“When we approached the superintendent, he informed us that the order for the exercise came from the Commissioner of Police, Kano State. We intend to seek an audience with the CP to brief him on our position on the matter,” he said.
Mr Yahaya also stated that the association would do everything within the ambit of the law to protect and prevent illegal encroachment and conversion of the eid ground into commercial or residential plots.
“On behalf of the teeming members of the larger community within and around this sacred ground for this and other generations yet to be born to continue to benefit from the intended purpose for which this eid praying ground was donates by the late emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero,” he stated.
Spokesman for the emir, Ahmad Bayero, did not answer calls nor respond to a text message seeking the emirate’s response on the matter.