Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has earned the wrath of Kano residents over his resolve to pull down the state’s first flyover built by his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso at the sum of N5.9 billion.
Daily Focus reports that the Kano state government in a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, had said on Tuesday that the 780-meter Kofar Nasarawa flyover, would be pulled down due to the “dangers it poses to residents”.
Mr Garba claimed that the 7-year-old bridge, built to last for the next 100 years, has started to “erode” due to poor quality work.
The Commissioner said the state government has started consulting professionals to assess the bridge with a view to eventually pull it down.
He said plans are underway and consultations are in progress with experts on the possibilities to leave or demolish the flyover due to the problems it’s giving Kano people.
Who were the contractors of the Kofar Nasarawa flyover project?
Daily Focus understands that the Kofar Nasarawa flyover was constructed by TEC Engineering Company Nigeria Limited–the same company that is handling the ongoing Kofar Mata flyover project awarded by the Ganduje administration.
This raises questions on the quality of the work being done on the Kofar Mata flyover project considering that it is being handled by same contractor whose work the government is criticizing.
Also, TEC, a Chinese company, constructed the 1.9 kilometer Alhassan Dantata flyover, the longest bridge in Kano, which was started by Mr Kwankwaso in 2014 and completed by Mr Ganduje in 2020.
However, since Mr Garba’s shocking announcement, many residents have taken to various media platforms to call out the government on the issue.
For Kabiru Hamisu, 35, the proposed demolition of the Kofar Nasarawa flyover, is a political misadventure that may further expose the insincerity of the Ganduje administration.
“It is tragic to hear the Ganduje government announcing such unfortunate policies like demolition the Kofar Nasarawa flyover.
“The question is: was governor Ganduje not part of the Kwankwaso administration that initiated the flyover? Why did it take him this long to know that the work they did was of poor quality?,” Mr Hamisu said.
Another resident, Hauwa Garba said the proposed demolition of the flyover simply highlights the Ganduje government’s poor understanding of the monumental problems facing the state.
“At a time the government is crying lack of funds due to the covid-19 pandemic, which has crippled Kano’s economic activities, I wonder why Ganduje is worried only about a flyover that works very well,” she said.
“Demolition of this flyover after gulping almost N6 billion would be the height of wickedness and crime against Kano people,” she added.
Ganduje plotting to sell site of flyover after demolition–Kwankwassiya
On their part, members of the Kwankwassiya movement loyal to Mr Kwanwakso alleged that Mr Ganduje is plotting to bulldoze the Kofar Nasarawa flyover in order to carve out and sell plots of land on the site.
The movement responded in a statement on Friday signed by Comrade Aminu Abdussalam Gwarzo, a former commissioner during the Kwankwaso administration.
According to the statement “It is on record that recently the governor attempted to relocate the 50 years Kano Zoological and Botanical Garden which is on 53 hectares of land for the sole purpose of selling the land for commercial gains. Furthermore, only lately premises of the Gidan Zakka which is not even a public property was also sold for commercial benefits.
“This is in addition to other public and private properties too numerous to mention here that were selfishly taken over and put up for sale or allocated to family members, friends and political cronies. It is therefore share outlandish falsehood that the Kofar Nassarawa flyover is collapsing.
“Apparently, we have it on good authority that the Governor is merely trying to justify the demolition of the flyover just so as to butcher the land for sell to the highest bidder.
The movement also warned residents to desist from buying public properties that are being sold to them by the Ganduje administration.
“Let me issue a word of advice and warning to the government and those that are scrambling to buy these public properties to note that the people of Kano would not fold their arms and watch the state assets being ravaged; come 2023 when Ganduje would have ended his illegitimate rule the incoming Kwankwasiyya administration will take every necessary measure available to reclaim all the public properties that have been misappropriated by the Ganduje administration. A word they say is enough for the wise,” Mr Abdussalam warned.
Demolition of flyover callous, irresponsible–group
Similarly, a civil society group Wuro Development Concern, Nigeria described the potential destruction of the Kofar Mata flyover by the Kano state government as callous and irresponsible.
Speaking to Daily Focus on Friday, Director of the group, Bala Abdullahi Gaduwama said the Ganduje administration is notorious for tempering with structures put in place by the previous (Kwankwaso) administration for political benefits.
“Let us not forget that buildings that had the Kwankwasiyya inscriptions at clinics, hospitals, schools and other public institutions that were constructed by the then Kwankwasiyya administration and had the Kwankwasiyya inscriptions written on top of the building, this administration took it as a matter of priority to remove the roofing simply because they wanted to delete the Kwankwasiyya inscriptions.
“These huge funds used to put new roofings in place could have been channeled into better use but that is not the priority of the government,” Mr Gaduwama said.
According to him, “If you take the issue of demolishing the property in question in relation to the prevailing happenings in the state, it is now becoming a very serious issue of contention, the reduction of pensioners wages and reverting the agreed new minimum wage to 18,000 from the agreed 30,000 which was enacted by the state house of assembly and it has become a national minimum wage.
“Kano state government complaining of lack of funds reverted to the 18,000 Naira. It has to be confronted with a threat from the Labor that it will shut down all the public places if the deductions are not stopped.
“The government promised to stop the deductions and revert back to the 30,000 minimum wage which was not seen yet. But the fact that it even undertook the tempering with the minimum wage and going back to the old one and going as far as reducing pensioners wages.
“The government is unable to repair roads, and the government is unable to buy drugs. How can now the government come and think that it will make sense, it will be rationalized by the ordinary people that a huge sum will now be taken to effect a repair or complete reconstruction of a huge edifice that has now come to characterize Kano at such a huge cost?
“There is now way the government can justify it. If anything it will deepen the speculation going round that government is doing this in order to drive material benefit in terms of kickbacks and other collaborations in the award of contracts to contractors as we have seen evidence in the past. Other than that I do not see any justifications.”