Kano State Commissioner for Land and Physical Development, Muhammad Nadu Yahaya, in this interview with our reporter in Kano, Suleiman Ramat, speaks on various issues concerning the new cities established by the state government.
What are the major challenges you are facing since you assumed office?
The challenges we faced since we came on board borders on the fact that the previous government did very little in terms of enhancing and projecting the land issue exercise and particularly, we found out that we had not been developing plan layout where people can build houses and their business complexes.
We also discovered that there is such a huge shortage of plots for developing or what we might call service plots. The first challenge therefore was to create many plots so that we can try to reduce the artificial scarcity that was created early.
The second challenge, which, perhaps, is the most difficult, is the follow-up of the first challenge. When some people realised that there was no service plots, some unscrupulous businessmen as they call themselves, decided to go begging to buy farms in the nearby areas, and then start dividing it into smaller plots to sell to the public. With no facilities such as school and clinics, they effectively created slums and sadly, they were selling these upland areas to people that are hungry to build and own houses.
This made us to try and remove what we call, “awon igiya” (unplanned Land) from the psyche of our society. It is a challenge to make Kano one of the most beautiful states in terms of accommodation, businesses and industry. These are what we have been trying to do since we came.
And as part of the physical development exercise, we are trying to decongest the city. Everywhere you turn, vehicles abound. Therefore, what we want to do is to see that we reduce these gridlocks in terms of vehicular congestion in the city.
How far has your plan of establishing new, modern settlements in Kano gone?
The new cities project is one of the major exercises that we are undertaking to address this unplanned layout. What we did is traditional to Kano and if you know our history, you will find out that places like Sabon Gari, Fagge, Tudun Wada are all new cities. In those days and even in recent times, if you see what Governor Audu Bako did, you will realize that places like what we now call Kawaji, Noman’s land and many of these new places, were all new cities in those days.
So, what we are trying to do is exactly what they did then. We want to go a little outside the environment to create autonomous units, units that are self-sufficient in terms of facilities like water, power, special services, shopping complexes, culverts and everything. We are now in the process of creating four major cities. The first one is a big kwankwasiyya city which will cover about 650hectres of land which we will develop into mostly low density and very high quality residence layout. It should have service network roads and dual carriage ways with street lights and water with things like golf courses, a 5 start hotel with an international conference centre, shopping mall and amusement park. That’s the kind of development that this city will witness and it is expected to house very well-to- do citizens of Kano and people from the environs.
The second city is almost adjacent to the kwakwansiyya city. We call it Amma city. This mixed development is going to have a low density with medium, high and commercial services and again, this is deliberate so as to reduce pressure in terms of population.
The third city is called Bandarawo city and that is along Dambatta road. It is about 10 to 15 kilometers away from the centre of Kano city and it will have similar characteristics with that of Amma city and it is also supposed to house the same kind of people.
The last is what we have along the western bye-pass and it’s about 28 kilometers long. Here, we do not want to allow the corridor along the western bye-pass to be destroyed by all these undeveloped and unplanned areas. Therefore, we are planning to put a well designed layout in the entire area from the beginning of Zaria road up to the end of western bye-pass in Katsina road. So, we are taking one kilometer on each side of the road and put in this very important town. It is going to consist of mostly commercial areas, educational areas and recreational areas and some residential housing. It’s a huge area covering over 4000hecters of land. This government is bent on providing new developed cities that people can live and be very happy in a conducive atmosphere. The whole concept is to try to decongest the metropolitan area so as to give people ideal living spaces that will make Kano the most beautiful city in the whole of Nigeria.
How far have you gone in reducing the menace of ‘Awon igiya” (Unplanned) Land?
Well, this new cities like I said, are complementing but they are not by themselves the only development we are doing. They are only complementing other developments we are doing, for example we have inspected an unplanned land (the “awon igiya”) that has been in Kuyan Inna and other areas. These are areas where unplanned developers (masu awon igiya), are taking money from people who want to build houses, building in this small-small plots. So, government is going there and what we are going to do there is to re-plan the entire area and we are putting in some basic infrastructures, then we will allow the people whose lands have been sold through ‘awon igiya’ to take possession of these well developed areas. So, there are several ways we are making efforts to discourage people from these unplanned land sellers menace, but, perhaps, the most important thing is that we are dialouging with us and the major businessmen who are into this business. Most of them have told us they will never go to business of ‘awon igiya’ again, and we are trying to channel their energies in order to become developers, in terms of developing housing unit and in terms of site and service. We are going to encompass them; we are going to integrate them into developers.
What are you doing to solve the problem of double allocation in the ministry and what are your major breakthroughs on this issue since you took over as the commissioner?
First what we are doing is try to be more careful. Something like double allocation can arise as a result of unscrupulous civil servants who allocate your land to somebody else though there can be genuine mistake from those that are real, but am sure as a surveyor, such thing will not happen in my time, and from part of the government. We are trying to computerize the system. Work has reach an advance stage of Kano Geographical information system already so much commitment has been done. Also the survey and land mapping has been computerized, so because of the modern technology it is very difficult to do this minor mistake now.
So far we have tried as much as possible to resolve this issue of double allocation we came and meet. What we are try to do is to allocate some plot from this present land we are developing to those who are victims of double allocation. We are trying presently to create plot for them, but I assure you that during our time, you will not hear such thing.
What are you doing about the local government land allocation documentation people are complaining about at the local government level?
I think we in Kano are lucky. I am still a member of Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform established by the later President Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, that is why we are developing Kano Geographical Information System ( KANGIS) to cover all the entire state, and we are trying to ask any person from Kano to come out and document his land so that it will help him to get C of O that can be used as collateral.
So our KANGIS will cover the whole state so that everybody will be issued C of O in Kano.