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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

Childhood killer diseases: NGO gets $29m grants to reach 1m caregivers

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An International Non-Governmental Organization, New Incentive, said it has received a grant of $29 million under it project – All Babies Are Equal targeted to reach over one million caregivers and immunize their infants against childhood killer diseases in four Northwest States .

Kano Focus reports that the four Northern states are Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto.

These childhood killer diseases include, tuberculosis, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, pneumococcal disease and measles.

The Stakeholder Relations Director, of the NGO Nura Muhammad disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with the benefiting states held in Kano.

Muhammad said the grant would be disbursed as conditional cash transfer to support the caregivers to ensure they avail their infants for the Immunization.

He said, “New Incentive – All Babies Are Equal, NI-ABAE has received commitments of over $29 million of funding over the next 3 years to reach over 1 million caregivers and their infants in Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, and Sokoto States.

This covers expansion to 35 LGAs with continued operations through Dec 2023.

“The organization aims to reduce child mortality through cost-effective and evidence-based health interventions.

In Nigeria, the organization operates as the All Babies Are Equal Initiative and implements the conditional cash transfers (CCT) for routine immunization (CCTs for RI) program.

“The flagship CCTs for RI program operated by ABAE disburses cash incentives to caregivers conditional on infants receiving four vaccines: BCG (against tuberculosis), PENTA (against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b), PCV (against pneumococcal disease), and MCV (against measles).

These vaccinations are part of the routine schedule for infant immunizations in Nigeria and are provided at no cost to the caregiver through government-supported clinics.

Upon confirmation of their infant receiving a vaccine, the caregiver receives ₦500 for the first four routine immunization visits and ₦2,000 for the fifth visit.

“The cash transfers compensate for transport, lost trading income, and waiting time while creating behavioural change through awareness of routine immunizations.

“The CCTs for RI Program has been implemented in the states of Katsina, Zamfara, 2017 while Jigawa in 2018.

To date, the program has enrolled over 390,000 infants whose caregivers have received over 1 billion naira in conditional cash transfers.

An independent impact assessment of NI-ABAE’s CCTs for RI program (2017 – 2020) found that the program increases the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by 27 percentage points, and increases rates of individual vaccinations by 14 to 21 percentage points.

Beyond vaccination, the assessment found that the program contributed to improved knowledge about vaccination among caregivers in the catchment areas served by the program.

“Immunization is one of the most effective public health interventions, saving 2 to 3 million lives yearly (WHO) and there is evidence that suggests a 27 percentage points increase in the likelihood that children would be fully immunized by a conditional cash transfers for routine immunization program (NI-ABAE RCT Impact Assessment 2017-2020),” the Stakeholder Relations Director, Nura Muhammad however said.

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Opinion

Meet Abdul: The most talented Dabo Babies player of all time

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Picking out the footballing stars of the future is a tricky task.

There are so many factors which could hinder the progression of even the most professional of teenagers.

But some do seem destined to reach the top, while others display a work ethic that’s even greater than the natural talent at their disposal.

The second paragraph could be the case with Dabo Babies talented, 19-year-old forward Abdul Attacker.

He burst onto the scene when he was playing for a local club, Golden Bullet and was snapped up by famous Dabo Babes FC after the departure of former Nigeria U-20 star, Nazifi Yahaya.

And has since caught the attention of football enthusiast across the country with his brilliant display for Dabo Babes.

Abdul tormented four-time Nigeria Professional Football League Champions, Kano Pillars FC after he scored twice against the Sai Masu Gida in a friendly match before the kickoff of the second stanza of the just concluded 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League season (NPFL).

He was the catalyst to Dabo Babes good run to the Kano state Tofa Premier League title driving the famous academy from game to game until they reach the final.

The dazzling forward produces mouthwatering display to earn himself accolades from the Pen Profession who could not hide their love for the next Super Star during the Tofa Premier League final.

He likes his game to that of Real Madrid forward, Karim Benzema and Bayern Munich deadly striker, Robert Lewandowski.

The 19-year-old’s talent and versatility has some people wondering whether he could be a bolster for the Nigeria National U-20 team, the Flying Eagles for their upcoming assignments.

As preparations for the 2020/21 Nigeria Professional Football League season gearing towards climax, many top clubs are interested in snapping him to bolster their squad as well as few other European top teams.

He has scored 55 goals and provided further 22 assists for Dabo Babes in less than three and a half years.

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Opinion

Lamido, Jega celebrate NEPU @ 71 

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Aminu Kano

Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad 

Yesterday, Sunday, the 8th of August, 2021, I accompanied His Excellency Dr Sule Lamido  (CON) who was the speaker at a symposium organised by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano (Mambayya House) to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), with the theme; ‘Politics of Principles and the Phenomenon of Political Party Defections in Nigeria’.

Sule Lamido

The event which held under the distinguished chairmanship of the cerebral Dr. Tijjani Muhammad Naniya, also had the ebullient Dr. Auwalu Anwar as the sole discussant. While Professor Attahiru Jega, Professor Dandatti Abdulkadir, Dr. Akilu Sani Indabawa, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, Professor Sule Bello, Dr. Nasir Fagge, former NEPU/PRP regional, federal and state parliamentarians, women and youth leaders from across the country, notably Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna States all ran incisive commentaries.

Prof. Dandatti Abdulkadir

The cacophony of voices were as fierce as they were sharply different in tone, content and delivery. But by far, that which stood out and generated most responses was Dr Lamido’s lead assertion that the raison d’etre for the NEPU/PRP ideological and political initiatives was to liberate the common folks (the Talakawas), first from the clutches of the combined reppression of the colonial overloads and their willing surrogates in the Native Authority establishments in Northern Nigeria, and the restrictions placed on them in political participation, aspirations and freedoms.

He forcefully argued that the movements have achieved on both counts as the children of yesterday’s Talakawas are today the new overloads and oppressors who deny their fellow Talakawas quality leadership as presidents, governors, parliamentarians, ministers, council chairmen and their councils. He concluded that the movements (atleast as organised political actions) should rest and cease to exist. And that today’s progressives should instead leverage around available political opportunities/platforms to confront the existing selfish order using present day political sentiments and realities as mobilization tools.

Prof. Hafiz Abubakar

But recalling copiously from memory, the lead speaker canvassed for an ideological graft transplant from the NEPU/PRP days in ways that the moral and ethical characters of both politics and governance of today can benefit from the sound value systems of old oder.

He narrated how he first resigned as a member of the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1983 purely on moral grounds, and then flew to Kano to convince the then Governor Alhaji Abubakar Rimi to do same as the governor of the old Kano State when the duo defected from the People’s Redemption Party (PRP) that gave them the mandates in the first place.

He then described the present phenomenon of political party defections in Nigeria as the worst form of corruption.

This profound submission drew a symphony of responses from today’s PRP practitioners who are mostly academics. Leading the park was Professor Attahiru Jega who argued that without justice in leadership and the level of impunity as is the case today, the NEPU/PRP cause has just begun and asked Sule Lamido to come lead the national onslaught.

Many other PhDs and Professors joined in the call that Lamido would later say lacked sufficient local and broader national political insight. It is significant to note that I was to totally align myself with the Sule Lamido’s perspective of the argument only yesterday, having engaged with him for over a decade on the same exact topic as the Jegas had done yesterday at Mambayya.

I am now fully convinced that the NEPU/PRP politics exclusively represented yesterday’s political sentiments and realities in the North with no much utility for either our present political and social circumstances or broader national appeal.

Sule Lamido, Dr Nuruddeen Muhammad and other guests

The Mambayya rendezvous is prehaps the only remaining theatre in Nigeria where political practitioners, activists and ideologues meet political researchers, theorists and even wannabees in a real time intellectual brawl. Bayero University Kano is both creative and thoughful in this annual ritual. Mallam Aminu Kano and his comrades had lived a very politically active, intellectually robust, and ideologically/philosophically sound lives to deserve this honour.

When academic excellence and classroom sense meet self taught philosophers and the practical hands on the streets, a cetain unique flavour emerges. Yesterday’s flavor has unfortunately left a distinctively sour test in my mouth. The fact that the Talaka is today his very own oppressor is a very bitter pill for some of us to swallow. And even more bitter is the second fact that the second on coming liberation of the Talakawas (from themselves this time around) will have to invent it’s devices with no NEPU/PRP emotional relic to rely on.

This, on a very personal note, was a befitting way to round off my three weeks extended sallah visit in Jigawa.

Dr. Muhammad was Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs & Federal Minister of Information as

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