The Special Adviser to Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, in a chat with SOLA OJO recently bare his mind on the ongoing physical development projects in Kaduna saying, his principal has been busy with Kaduna Urban renewal. Excerpt:
We saw demolition and land clearing in some parts of the State, what is going on?
What we have is urban renewal project starting with Kaduna metropolis as part of the commitments made by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai in his inauguration speech. So, the Governor is following it up with concrete action.
You will remember that we have a new ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure because next to human development is development of infrastructure which is a key priority for the government.
Now there are specifics about urban renewal projects which was formerly launched on June 25 this year with several components of it. Let me mention a few of the components of this urban renewal. We have roads, mass transit, housing and improved land use, street lights, parks and recreational services, markets in neighborhood centres and waste management. These are the main areas the programme is to cover.
Can you quick shed more light on this development?
Yes, talking about the roads, We have at least, seven new roads spanning about 23 kilometers within Kaduna metropolis. All the roads that are selected under urban renewal were captured in the Max Lux Master Plan of 1967 for Kaduna.
They came back and do the revice one in 2010 which the government adopted and legislated. It was the one of the first laws passed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly during the first term of Governor El-Rufai.
In addition to the seven new roads, 14 other roads would be upgraded, dualised, expanded and so on.
Some of the new roads include the one that will link Kabala Costain to Aliyu Makama road essentially creating another road that will link northern and southern parts of Kaduna metropolis. It will ease the congestion the motorists are having around the Stadium roundabout.
There is a road to link Malali to College road in Angwan Dosa. There is 9.6 long kilometre road that will link Raba road from that Arewa House area to Nnamdi Azikiwe bypass and then it spurs unto the train station in Rigasa.
The trust of this road is to ensure that the eastern and western sessions of Kaduna are better connected since development is moving to the eastern area which we have already taken up by also construct a road from the millennium city to link to the bypass.
Other projects for upgrade is dualisation of WAFF road now Muhammadu Buhari way where they have already started removing some structures along the road. This will take off from NEPA roundabout to the Essence school junction.
Needless to say that every new road to be built will be upgraded with street lights and all that. We will dualise Yakubu Gowon road up to Leventis roundabout with an under pass. Alkali road, Tafawa Balewa road, Swimming Pool road, Kasuwan Baicci roundabout are all captured in Kaduna urban renewal road segment.
Of what importance is this urban renewal to the people living in Kaduna?
Yes, if you improve travel times, you reduce congestion on the roads, create alternative roads because ease of transportation is very crucial to economic activities. Don’t forget that, Kaduna is among the top ten states that has two of its cities growing fast in Nigeria.
So, this urban renewal project is happening in Kaduna but we must develop other projects in Kafanchan and Zaria which are rapidly growing urban centres.
Now, we are talking about urban renewal, what about towns and villages renewal, are their plans by this administration to touch these too?
Well, the urban centres are state government’s responsibility. More rural settings are local government’s responsibility. We have tried to do several things to enhance capacity of the local government councils to provide these services including establishing economic planning board which ensure that the state government and its 23 local councils meet to discuss and understand priorities and ensure that what is being done at the state level coherent with what is being done at the local government level to ensure seamless development.
We as state government believe that, by having urban projects in the urban areas, we are setting examples for the local government.
For example, a chairman of a local government can decide to build great roads, parks or decent markets in his neighborhood or even a shopping mall in the headquarters of the local government if there is population to sustain it.
When we are talking about urban renewal, there is possibility that some existing structures will be touched. Was there any palliative measures in place for those that may be affected by this development?
Well, the Land Use Act of Nigeria is very clear. If there are places that fall under the conditions specified by the act, of course, you are upgrading the city. You are trying to make it easier for citizens and your obligations to uphold the law is not suspended by the good thing you are doing.
If you are not covered by the provision of the Land Use Act, that also has to be noted. This is because are some situations where people know that they are temporary tenants on government land. Government cannot go ahead and compensate you for its own land.
But, if it is somebody that has valid titles, building plan approval, there is a law in this country that covers such things. Don’t forget that, under this government, the rate of compensation has moved to about N750,000 per hectare.
In addition, it has decided to offer communities a new layout for which new layouts are envisaged. 30 percent of the plots in those layouts so that there is a choice between collecting the land compensation or collecting the plot of land which you can chose to develop or sell.
So, this urban renewal is for those who are living there and if you are going to develop a city, you may have to remove some structures. Don’t forget also that, under this government, we dualised college road Angwan Dosa which required removal of some buildings.
Rigasa road was dualised which required removal of some buildings. The question is, did we follow the law? The answer is yes, we did. When the process in Angwan Dosa started, some of the people voluntarily started removing their properties because they saw that the project was for them and they realised that the law was followed in dealing with the properties that were affected.
Now, Kaduna is first to subscribe to Open Government Partnership at sub-national level, is the state carrying out these project on its own or under public private partnership?
Some of the components of urban renewal project are under public private partnership (PPP). The road projects are strictly government funded projects to improve urban infrastructure and connection between different parts of our city.
But the mall that was launched is being built along WAFF road is a PPP between Kaduna State government and a private company called Amsalco. The necessity of this big project is well established. It is a way of mobilising additional capital as well as getting a partner who is interested in quality development of the projects through adequate timeline and even to manage it in the interests of all the parties.
You remember the MoU signed between the state government and a multi national to transform livestock in Nigeria from culture into a business though not part of urban renewal. Olam project is a case of multi national bringing its own funds into Kaduna state is a welcome development. In case where an investor want a partnership and it is adjudge by Kaduna State government to accept the partnership, then it must have been well thought of.
Urban renewal is about making things better. Sometimes, this entails some demolition even if you are not losing anything in term of property being removed, you may be inconvenient by construction activities. I want to call on our people to support this progress and development and endure the temporary pain as we develop our dear Kaduna.