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The failure of urban planning in Kano metropolis

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By Bala Nasir

Sticking to the actual planning as designed by professional town planners has proved to be a major undoing of many administrations in Kano state probably due to demographic, social, religious and even selfish considerations of some individuals in the society.

The state which was created along with others in 1967 has been grappling with the issue of town planning right from when the first administration was dethroned in 1976.

Though there were serious implementation of designed town planning in the state especially by the first three administrations, but this began to gradually gets thwarted by the military administrations as town planning issues that used to take front burner in all government activities were discarded.

Major environmental and regional planning schemes designed to take care of gradual development of the state by the administration of Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory were utterly revised and thwarted.

While no serious substitute was developed, the administrations started allocating lands to all manner of people to build all manner of structures randomly without any justifications and due considerations to various aspects of environmental, social and economic costs in the future.

The expansive land at ‘Farm Centre’ within Kano metropolis is just one victim of policy summersault that costs the state a very serious development centre as designed by the Rimi administration.

Also, the land now housing the magnificent Ado Bayero Mall along Zoo Road is another misfortune story via such visionless policies that was previously expertly designed to house a beautiful modern one-stop market where more and more people will be allocated space to do business. Not what obtains now in that place where few individuals were given that expansive place to do business.

Politics of carve out

As if that was not enough, when the administration of Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya came, it started carving out from the spaces of all Government Reserved Areas (GRAs) within the municipality without any specific and modified plan to guide how buildings should be erected.

This therefore gave rise to a new form of squalor quarters in the GRA thereby chocking the reserved area with buildings that dotted spaces reserved for development in the future.

In addition to this, no corresponding infrastructure was provided in the ‘government desecrated areas’ to cope with the additional development that took place.

Most of these areas so ‘desecrated’ are left to exist with the same infrastructure provided during the colonial era which was upgraded during Audu Bako administration.

This madness continues unabated up to the present time to the extent that any space left is being tracked by individuals who go to the authorities concerned to allocate such to them to build structures on.

Also, the densely populated areas within the city continue to get more and more populated via the population explosion now being witnessed in the country with more structures being built to accommodate more residential and business concerns.

This madness continues unabated up to the present time to the extent that any space left is being tracked by individuals who go to the authorities concerned to allocate such to them to build structures on.

Politicians have even made it so glaring that lands are over the years carved out from schools and other institutions belonging to government and allocated to political god-fathers cum jobbers and the likes as payoff for electing the administration in power.

Now the end result of all these is the recurring flooding that is being witnessed during the wet season especially during the peak of the season around July/August every year.

Also, the roads, culverts and drainages that are being shabbily built due to wanton corruption taking place almost everywhere are usually washed away in such situations.

Residents of many areas within the city are enmeshed by flooding whenever it rained due to poor or bastardized planning that has been taking place for so long a time without recourse to future consequences of the action.

Now, the situation is getting worse and it is continuing to be, because instead of looking at the problem and finding a way of solving it, the people and the authorities concerned seemed adamant.

Rather, more harm continues to be inflicted on the environment as more and more structures are being erected along water channels, under electricity cables, on NNPC pipelines, blocked drainages and all available reserved lands in the city and not many seem to care about giving it a halt.

Social justice

With a society like this, it will take a very long time to right any wrong being perpetrated by some selfish few, while the end results of their actions consume almost everybody in that society.

When shall people come to terms with reality of the moment and try to figure out the destructive harm we have been inflicting on our environment on a daily basis and first do away with the inordinate desire to accumulate riches anyhow and no matter what?

On the side of the authorities, it is rather safe to be remembered for good deeds than being remembered for the primitive accumulation of wealth that we are now witnessing in people at the helms of our affairs.

Let there be sanity in the conduct of people’s affairs in our society by those in authority as this will certainly signal the beginning of good things to be happening to this society.

When we start to have this, the long elusive happiness that we are all yearning to enjoy will be getting closer to us.

This will erase the despair we are used to in all that we do and undo as a people.

As it is said somewhere that since we tried social injustice and we seemed to have been failing even at the level of our environment, why not try adopting social justice in all we do?

Chances are that we can make it to the promised land as others in other climes we even cherish did.

A journey of one thousand years starts with a step, it is not late.

Who is bold enough to lead the way?

Bala Nasir, a journalist and public affairs commentator writes from Kano.

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Opinion

Sex for marks and the culture of victim blaming

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Victim Blaming

Hadiza S. Ibrahim

The ‘sex for grades’ phenomenon uncovered by the BBC Africa Eye documentary in the University of Lagos was published on YouTube on October 7, 2019, and has gone viral in the social media. This has led to a domino’s effect in other higher institutions.

In response to this, some commentators are of the view that it is not only the universities’ male lecturers that are to be blamed, but the female students should be blamed even more. They argue that some female students lead the lecturers on or seduce them by making sexual advances to the lecturers privately in their offices when they fail to meet up pass marks.

Sex for marks: Blame the students

However, even though some female students seduce male lecturers into having sex for grades, we cannot dispute that female students stand at more risk of being pressurized and exploited by male lecturers in the pursuit for sex for marks. There are more facts of vulnerability as seen in the documentary, from the side of the female students who are sometimes underage and become victims of sexual harassment from male lecturers at different variations ranging from verbal or physical abuses, blackmail, molestation or rape.

For the lecturers, they stand no risk at all. First, they have a choice, whether to fall into the temptation of their female students’ sexual advancement or turn them down. If they agree to the advances of their female students, they end up not as victims but rather as counterparts to the criminal offenses.

Sex for Marks: Kano Poly to punish randy lecturer

Kano court remands Vice Principal over sexual harassment

On the other hand, the female students who are sexually harassed by their male lecturers find themselves victimized. They are left with the choice of either being sexually abused or stand the risk of forgoing their grades; or in some instance, repeating a class/year of academic study, or even get withdrawn from the school. Consequently, such female students stand the risk of being oppressed, silenced and depressed. In some cases, where there is no immediate help, with no justice after being threatened by their predators, such female students go as far as attempting suicide because of trauma from the experience of sexual harassment, molestation or even rape.

In cases where lecturers are reported, the authorities are reluctant in implementing policies regarding criminal offenders or do nothing about it. This has led to a culture of impunity among the lecturers. For example, in the BBC Sex for Grades documentary there is even room commonly known as the ‘cold room’ in the Senior Staff Club of the University of Lagos where lecturers have affairs with students openly.

Sex for Marks: How Kano students are suffering in silence

So, the question is, who is at a greater risk of being victimized, the female students or the male lecturers? The gravity or effect of these occurrences in the lives of the victims is what is of greater concern.

Hadiza S. Ibrahim is a Life Coach based in Kano

 

 

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Opinion

Sex for marks: Blame the students

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Sex for marks

Abba Ibrahim Gwale

The BBC has indeed conducted an excellent investigation into the sexual harassment of female university students by the lecturers, but I blame the students more.

A lecturer once told me that one of his female students came late to a test. After the test, the student entered another class, ruffled her dress, and exposed half her breasts, retouched her make-up and approached the lecturer’s office. Before going, she confided to her friends that she was going to seduce the lecturer into giving her another test.

Unknown to her, a male student overheard her and reported to the lecturer. The moment she entered the office, the lecturer shouted at her to get out. From that day she had been avoiding the lecturer.

Another lecturer told me that a female student once told him that she couldn’t pass his examination however much she tried and was therefore willing to give him whatever he wanted from her.

“Whatever I want?” he asked her.

“Yes, you do understand what I mean.” She replied.

Also, when I was in Level 200, one of my female course mates was unable to submit an assignment on schedule. She went and wore a revealing dress and knocked on the lecturer’s door. Fortunately for him, he wasn’t in.

Sex-for-marks: How we caught Kano Poly lecturer–Muhuyi

Sex for Marks: Kano Poly to punish randy lecturer

Kano Poly lecturer in prison ‘for sexually harassing female student’

I know another lecturer who received a text message from a female student after she had sat for his exam. In the text, she wrote that she knew she didn’t perform well but needed to pass the exam. She therefore was willing to offer herself to him. She ended the message by begging him to tell her where he would like to meet her.

There is another lecturer who was told by a married woman that she was willing to have sex with him if only she would pass his course. She even urged him not to waste time as her husband was about to return from a journey.

There is yet another lecturer who I found in a sad mood in his office. He told me that he was about to terminate his employment with the university. When I asked him for a reason, he confided that his students have been trying to seduce him. He narrated a lot of stories regarding several female students.

Kano court remands Vice Principal over sexual harassment

Sex for Marks: How Kano students are suffering in silence

This problem is also prevalent in secondary schools where many male teachers suffer from the seductive cravings of female students.

However this is not to absolve the lecturers from blame as they are also guilty of harassing students sexually. In fact, the lecturers initiated the problem by demanding sex from their students. Nevertheless the students have become willing partners in this heinous crime.

Abba Ibrahim Gwale is a journalist based in Kano.

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How Kano has become Kidnappers Den

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Abbas Yusha’u Yusuf

For the past four years Nigerians are awash with news of kidnappings of high and low profile personalities. Citizens whose loved ones are frequent travelers on Nigerian highways are not that tranquil unless until they relations return safely from their journeys.

A number of deviant Nigerians are exploiting the opportunity to make money from kidnapping; some are obscure while others are prominent. The horrors with which kidnappers are visiting Nigerians have made them to lose hope as if the crime is getting out of government’s hands. The security and welfare of people should be the primary responsibility of government.

For the past thirty years the springing of disperse settlements are making Kano city to be a haven for different categories of people apart from those living in the ancient city surrounded by  the old city wall.

Previous governments have frowned at how unorganized settlements are frustrating efforts in making the city one of the best even though its master plan has been disrupted severally by allocation of plots by the same governments calling on residents to help organized the city.

Wadume: Notorious kidnapper arrested in Kano

The failure of urban planning in Kano metropolis

The plight of rural dwellers in Kano

No one will purchase a piece of land or a house without a ward head or a village head signing the receipt but the big question is why are kidnappers hiding in Kano?

When Magajin Garin Daura was abducted for more than 42 days, his captors brought him to Kano. People were thinking that Magajin Garin Daura was not even alive or was flown out of the country, but unfortunately he was found in Kano.

The most terrifying thing of recent was that of Hamisu Bala Wadume, a kidnapper who escaped from the Intelligence Response Team of the Nigerian Police with the aid of soldiers as he confessed. His port of call was Kano.

Every sane person knows very well that government alone cannot commit enough resources to secure the whole of Kano people. Kano residents must therefore stand up and initiate ways to ensure their security so that they will not be sleeping with kidnappers and other criminal elements.

Recently, Tudun Yola community has started taken measures to tackle the security situation. Tudun Yola is a middle class and elite community in Kano. The residents have cooperated and registered every household in their area, the occupants, and their means of earning a livelihood. Even the watchmen guarding various houses are registered by the community after providing valid addresses and references. These steps will make the community to address insecurity bedeviling the area.

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry may come to Kano and hide if government did not address how future settlements develop. If Wadume from one of the farthest northern states will hide in Kano after escaping from the police, who else cannot?

The money spent in creating Emirates in the state would have been used to cooperate with ward and village heads to address hidden criminals in their midst.

Abbas Yushau Yusuf can be reached at abyushau2@gmail.com

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