The Ministry of Human Services and Social Development will erect befitting structures for Beth Torrey Home on the land that it reclaimed, to enable the orphanage undertake child welfare and protection programmes.
The Commissioner of the Ministry, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed Baba who made this known, explained how Kaduna State Government reclaimed the encroached land, stating that that the trespass happened close to 50 years ago.
Hajiya Hafsat said that all attempts to reclaim the land proved abortive, adding that ‘’ the problem persisted throughout military and civilian administrations, until the coming of the Malam Nasir El-Rufai government.’’
‘’The Ministry of Human Services and Social Development reported the encroached land attached to the state Orphanage and Beth Torrey Home in Tukur-Tukur, Zaria to His Excellency, the governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai.
‘’The land was used by the encroachers to harbour Almajirai from various states, who live in deplorable and unhealthy conditions. The Almajirai are made to farm on this said land. His Excellency, the governor approved the revocation of all existing claims to the land and reallocated same to the ministry,’’ she added.
According to the commissioner, the said land was allocated by the then Emir of Zazzau, late Alhaji Muhammadu Aminu, to a retired American civil servant, Beth Torrey, who established the home in 1969.
‘’The land was later encroached and trespassed upon by one Alhaji Muhammadu Argungu. After all efforts to stop him from encroaching on the land by both managements of Beth Torrey and the Children’s Home failed, three meetings were organised by the Local Government Council to resolve the issue but these meetings never held.
‘’Alhaji Argungu, despite these contentions, went ahead to hurriedly put up structures on the land and these structures have remained uncompleted and are the same that were demolished recently,’’ she disclosed.
The commissioner further said that in January 1977, the then Military Administrator of Kaduna state, His Excellency Group Captain Ibrahim Mahmud Alfa, received a letter from Alhaji Muhammadu Jibo, Chairman of Beth Torrey Home, intimating him of encroachment/trespassing on land belonging to the Home.’’
The chairman of the Home complained that all efforts by management to stop the encroacher, Alhaji Muhammadu Argungun were unsuccessful, she added.
Hajiya Hafsat said that Kaduna State Government set up a 17-member committee, comprising the Director General of Bureau of Land and Survey who was the chairman, while Director Land Administration, and Director Town Planning were members.
‘’The committee therefore recommended the removal of the two office blocks and two warehouses from Argungu’s purported plot,’’ she said, adding that ‘’it also recommended that N1,045,552.00 should be paid to Argungu as compensation.’’
The commissioner further said that the committee also recommended that Argungu should be provided with an alternative land in the Zaria Industrial layout.
According to Hajiya Hafsat, Alhaji Argungu refused to accept all these recommendations ‘’and held on to the land defying government’s orders.’’
‘’With this development, the ministry complained to the state government on the need to take action in securing back the land in the interest of orphans and vulnerable children of Kaduna state,’’ she said.
The commissioner disclosed that Governor El-Rufai has approved the revocation of all existing claims to the land and reallocated it to the ministry.