Kaduna residents on Monday caused a gridlock on the busy Kaduna-Zaria expressway in protest against alleged land grabbing by the Nigerian Air Force.
The protesters which include residents of Barkalawu community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State trooped out in great numbers alleging that the Nigeria Air Force officials are seizing their lands.
The two lanes of the expressway were blocked by the protesters, leaving motorists travelling from Kaduna to other parts of the northwestern states stranded for over four hours.
The Kaduna-Zaria road is the only expressway that connects the nation’s capital, Abuja to other states in the North West and some parts of the northeast zones.
Passengers travelling to and from Zamfara, Kano, Katsina and other Northwestern states to Kaduna and the southern part of the country were left stranded as a result of the road blockade.
Channels Television correspondent in Kaduna reports that the traffic stretched for over fifteen kilometres to the Kaduna State capital, leaving many of the commuters to resort to trekking the long distance to their destinations.
The Nigerian Airforce is yet to react to the allegations and efforts are on to get their reaction.
See more photos from the protest and blocked highway below…
Residents of Kaduna state, have expressed hope that things would get better in Nigeria in 2017, with prayer and commitment on the part of the leaders as well as citizens.
They believe that although the nation witnessed several socio-economic challenges in 2016, things would improve in the New Year.
At the Cathedral of Saint Michael Anglican Communion in the state capital, residents marked the event with praise and thanksgiving, appreciating God for keeping them alive to see the New Year.
The Bishop of Kaduna Arch- Diocese, Mr Timothy Yahaya in his New Year message, prayed for a better and prosperous Nigeria. He then told citizens to start the New Year with a new hope and begin to think and act positively.
Speaking to Channels Television, Mr Yahaya expressed hope that militancy in the Niger Delta, Boko Haram in the north east and Fulani herdsmen attacks as well as other related crimes that have set the country backward, would be over in the New Year.
He also said the current economic recession in Nigeria can only be addressed with a sound economic team, and then called for a re-engineering of every sector of the nation’s economy.
“My prayer is that Nigeria will be better in 2017, that Nigeria will prosper in 2017. We must start this year with a new hope, we must start this year with a new beginning.
“Nigerians must begin to think differently. The leaders must begin to think Nigeria, act Nigeria and believe in Nigeria. Followers must also act Nigeria, sing Nigeria and believe in Nigeria.
“The whole sins of last year we are supposed to leave them this year. All such things that have made Nigeria a shame and disgrace in the world today, would be over in this New Year.
“Our resolution will be a rebirth of a new country. And there will be a re-engineering in every sector of our national life. This is my hope and prayer for Nigeria in this New Year,” the clergyman said.
Ahead of the Christmas celebration, residents of Kaduna state, northwest Nigeria lament over the hike in cost of food items and other commodities needed to make the occasion a memorable one.
While some residents complained that prices of essential commodities have gone up, traders on the other hand groan over low patronage.
The Sheikh Gumi market in the state capital, according to them, was unusually dry unlike other festive seasons; a situation traders attribute to the current economic recession in the country.
Residents lamented over the high cost of rice, which has moved from about 9,000 Naira to nothing less than 17,500. They equally complained that a live chicken now goes for about 4,000 Naira as against prices from last year’s Christmas.
They believe that the ban on importation of rice is the reason for the hike in prices and therefore, called on the government to relax the ban on rice and other essential commodities in order to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians.
This request is not coming as something new, as residents in some other states such as Ondo, as well as Ekiti states protested the hike which led to a forceful reduction in price of some commodities.
In November, Ekiti state monarchs under the Council of Traditional Rulers, in conjunction with Market Women Association of Nigeria ensured the reduction in prices.
Speaking to Channels Television, some residents expressed that they are left with no choice than to celebrate the yuletide in ‘low key’, due to lack of money and high cost of goods in the market.
Although some have complained bitterly about the situation, many others still believe that celebrating Christmas to herald the birth of Jesus Christ is a must, regardless of the economic situation.
Residents of Gbagyi Villa Community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State are protesting against a plan by the State government to demolish their buildings.
The government claims the buildings were illegally erected on a parcel of land belonging to Kaduna polytechnic.
The residents, comprising of men, women and even children embarked on a peaceful demonstration on Thursday morning, demanding that the planned demolition should be suspended.
With placards they sang anti-government songs, as they marched along the roads to show their anger.
They claimed to be in possession of all relevant documents that gave them the right to occupy the land, insisting that the planned demolition was illegal and inhuman.
According to them, the land in question had been a source of dispute between them and the polytechnic due to the fact that the native owners were not duly settled to enable them transfer complete ownership to the institution.
The Chairman Gbagyi Community, Chris Obodumu, claimed that late Governor Patrick Yahowa in 2011 resolved the dispute and amicably demarcated the boundary between the two parties.
Reacting to the protest, spokesman for the state governor, Mr Samuel Aruwan, explained that the planned demolition was “to restore the land back to the rightful owner – the Kaduna Polytechnic”.
He stated that some people deliberately encroached into the portion of land belonging to the polytechnic even when they knew where the boundary was.
According to him, as the municipal authority in which all land in the state is vested upon, the government was again approached in 2015 by the Kaduna Polytechnic requesting action to preserve their title.
Although none of the residents have presented their land titles to the relevant government agency, Aruwan said the government was ready to recognise and protect every proven title to land.
Gbagyi Villa Community shares boundaries with Kaduna Polytechnic and Ungwar Romi, along the eastern bye-pass.
Both the Gbagyi Villa land and that of the polytechnic were formally one piece of land before a part of it was acquired by the latter many years ago.
In recent time, some people were said to have encroached into the land and erected their structures there without approval from either the state government or the polytechnic management.
The owners of the houses have been served a notice of eviction through KASUPDA, after which they will be demolished.
In the copy of the eviction notice obtained by Channels Television’s correspondent, dated August 5, 2015, the council based its action on the state’s 1958 Township Building Rules and Environmental Protection Law of 2010.
Pending when the bulldozers will move in, the residents demand that a committee be set up by the state governor to investigate all issues and transactions relating to the land.
They also called on Governor Nasir El-Rufai to consider the recommendation of the white paper of the Yakowa’s administration not to demolish lands belonging to the Gbayi people.
They said that the polytechnic community was not laying claim to the same land and wondered what the interest of the Kaduna State government on the matter was.
According to them, the plan to demolish their buildings rubbishes all efforts and procedures that had sustained the peace and unity in their community over the years.
The Kaduna State Police Command has cancelled all forms of social gathering at public places such as recreation centres and amusement parks during the Eid-el Fitr celebrations in the state.
This followed a security alert by the state security outfit, code-named ‘Operation Yaki’, that the state might be attacked on Sallah day by terror group, known as ‘Surasuka’ or ‘Masushara’.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr Umar Shehu, announced this in a statement he issued to journalists on Thursday.
He said that places for fun seekers such as the Gamji Gate Amusement Park, Galaxy Park and others would be closed down during the celebration.
He also disclosed that the State Police Command had deployed both conventional and mobile policemen, as well as undercover operatives to man and monitor vulnerable points, with a view to ensuring tight security across the state.
Mr Shehu warned residents against accommodating or harboring strange fellows, as the Boko Haram terror group had changed their tactics of attacks.
The Police Commissioner urged parents and guardians to be vigilant, monitor and warn their children and not allow them to be used by mischief makers.
He reiterated that the ban on commercial motorcycles popularly called ‘okada’, as well as street begging and hawking were still in force, all in the bid to ensure that Kaduna residents have a crime and violence free Eid-El Fitr celebration.
Similarly, the Emir of Zazzau, who is also the Chairman of Kaduna State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Shehu Idris, has cancelled the traditional Durbar that usually takes place during the Sallah, citing insecurity as reason for the cancellation.