From Ahmad Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Surveyor General of Kogi State, Michael Abiodun Abolarinwa was yesterday docked at the Chief Magistrate Court 11, Lokoja for allegedly demolishing a house belonging to a petty trader, Razaq Mayowa and subsequently re -allocated the said land to a serving Army General.
While dragging the defendant to court, Razaq Mayowa, a petty timber trader, claimed that his four sets of one bedroom bungalow valued at over N200 million which he had laboured to build for the past 10 years, located at Zangon Daji, Lokoja was illegally demolished on 3rd of March,2018 by the Surveyor General and one Mustapha Saliu.
He alleged that the said land was later sold to one Maj Gen James Ataguba of 323 Artillery Regiment, Owena barracks, Akure whom he further alleged, used one Capt Farota to lead armed soldiers to beat him to pulp.
He told the court that he was beaten black and blue for daring to ask why his house was being demolished, explaining that some officials came with a bulldozer and were under the protection of some armed soldiers who supervised the illegal demolition.
Mayowa who expressed surprise that he was not given any kind of notification before the demolition, stressed that few weeks after the illegal act, he saw a team of bricklayers erecting a new structure on his land under the protection of some armed soldiers.
He maintained that after reporting the matter at the Divisional Police headquarters, Lokoja, he rushed to court to obtain an injunction restraining the defendant and his agents from working on his land without success.
According to him, those who illegally occupied his land, resisted the order on the ground that the demolition was been carried out on the orders of the state government.
However, after due investigation, he further posited that he discovered that the state government did not authorize the demolition neither did it have any knowledge of the exercise.
He said in a letter written by the Kogi State Town Planning and Development Board dated 4th April, 2018 and signed by one Jubrin Ismaila, the board disclosed that it did not approve the demolition of the structure and that none of its staff was involved in the said exercise
Mayowa who equally revealed that he has petitioned the Chief of Army Staff over the illegal acquisition of his property by the Army General and his continued harassment, urged Lt Gen Tukur Buratai to investigate the incident in order to call the serving army general to order, saying he is currently in hiding as soldiers terrorise him on daily basis.
When the case was however, brought for mention before the Chief Magistrate Court yesterday, the Surveyor General who was in the dock along with one of his staff, Mustapha Saliu, pleaded not guilty to the alleged offence.
The presiding judge, Chief Magistrate A. S. Ibrahim who admitted the surveyor general to bail of N50,000 and a surety of like sum, who must be a Permanent Secretary or a traditional ruler of repute, subsequently adjourned the matter to the 5th of August for hearing.