Kaduna State Government And Aisha Yakubu
The question, “Where Are The Prophets?” which a Nigerian reggae musician, Peterside Ottong, asked in his music album in 1989 seems to be reverberating once again after Governor Nasir El-Rufai led government in Kaduna State demolished Asher Kings and Queens Restaurant and Lounge, owned by Aisha Yakubu, and located at Sabon Tasha, in Kaduna, on December 31, 2020 days after “Kaduna Sex Party” poster appeared in public.
Since the demolition, commendations and condemnations have continued to trail the demolition of the Restaurant and Lounge while the owner of the building faulted the exercise and threatened to sue the state government for defamation and losses.
The owner, Aisha Yakubu, said she lost one-month pregnancy due to the trauma she suffered as she watched the demolition of her property. The demolition was carried out by Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency (KASUPDA) on the order of Mr. El-Rufai, the agency said, alleging that the party was to hold at Asher as the entertainment joint was simply known.
For the benefit of those that are not familiar with issues in the Christendom, the primary responsibility of a prophet is to bring direction and correction to the Church or to the Nation. Many of the prophets of the Old Testament found themselves confronting kings, and taking an important role in national affairs. Some also addressed their words to foreign nations even as they spoke to power. They demonstrated the ministry of the Prophet to the Nation.
It may not be out of place in this context to liken what El-Rufai did to Aisha to what David in the bible did to Uriah. The wanton level of injustice and oppression which David exhibited against Uriah by snatching his wife from him was unacceptable to God that he had to send his prophet, Nathan, to David. There is no denying the fact that the meeting between David and Nathan was not in any way congenial. In 2 Samuel 12, Nathan confronts David regarding his relationship with Bathsheba and the cover-up of their affair. The Lord had commanded Nathan to share a story of a rich man who took and killed a poor man’s only lamb. David was justifiably angry at the injustice (verses 5–6). Nathan then answered, “You are the man!” (Verse 7). David had blood on his hands. He was guilty of killing Bathsheba’s husband as well as committing adultery. God brought judgment upon David for his sin, including the death of his and Bathsheba’s child. However, David repented, was forgiven, and remained king.
At this juncture, it cannot be said to be an exaggeration to say that El-Rufai needs a prophet in the mould of Nathan to tell him that the social care and welfare of the people which ordinarily is the responsibility of his government has been deliberately prejudiced as what happened to Aisha literarily occurred under his watchful eyes, and is a vicious attack on the majority of the people who voted him to power. After all, a Yoruba adage has it that “The cane they used to flog the first wife is always at the back of the door waiting for the second wife.” Who says what happened to Aisha cannot happen to someone else before the governor leaves office? On the other hand it would be foolhardy to allow the precedent which the governor has set to become enduring.
El-Rufai needs a prophet to tell him that by allowing Mrs. Aisha’s property to be demolished that he has denied her the right to be heard particularly as stated in the Nigerian criminal justice which states that the constitutional right of an accused person is enshrined in Section 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, and that such rights include, the right to be informed promptly in the language that he understands, the details and nature of the offence of the accused ...
Against the spirit and letter of the foregoing constitutional law, it suffices in this context to say that the access to justice for Aisha was brazenly blocked as the demolition of the property was carried out despite the fact that she has the constitutional rights to be tried in the court of law. The somewhat lawlessness becomes more glaring, even for the layman to see when Aisha in a statement obtained by journalists denied having any sex party in her restaurant, and noted that her business was registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, as a restaurant and an Event Centre and not as a hotel.
Permit me to leave the prophet out of this at this juncture, and allow me to opine that it is becoming increasingly difficult not to associate such catastrophic demolition of Aisha Yakubu’s property with something deeper, something more visceral. One need to ask why did El-Rufai and some officials of Kaduna State government that brought down the property to rubble so bent on treating Aisha the way they did? Is there something about her they just can’t stomach that they even went further to arrest her husband as widely reported in the media?
It is expedient to say at this juncture that while controversy continues to trail the demolition that Human rights advocate, Femi Falana (SAN), said that Governor Nasir el-Rufai flouted Section 79 of the Kaduna State Urban and Regional Planning Law, 2018, which he personally signed when his government demolished Asher Lounge, the venue of the aborted sex party, and asserted that the government flouted several sections of the legislation.
The senior advocate who said that there was nowhere the law mandated the government or its agencies to pull down a building without prior notice or giving room for fair hearing, added, “The law which was signed by el-Rufai in 2018 does not allow for demolition without a notice. Section 79 of the law is clear. No governor has the right to authorize a demolition of the property of anyone.
He further explained, “The governor cannot be the accuser, the prosecutor, the judge and the executor of the judgment. All the states in Nigeria have similar laws, whether in Rivers or Lagos. None has the power to pull down the property of any citizen who has not been given the opportunity of making a representation.
“No one is in support of sex parties taking place in the country but anyone found wanting should be arrested and prosecuted according to the law. They should have prosecuted those accused of committing the offence and not pulled down the building,” he said.
Without any modicum of hyperbole, Louis Brandeis ‘said that “Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy”, found expression in the demolition of Aisha Yakubu’s property in Kaduna State.
To my view, the governor and Kaduna state government should begin to demonstrate the willingness to rightfully take responsibility for its mistakes against Aisha Yakubu. The governor should have a rethink in his way of administering various political constituencies in the state, and by extension imbibe a high sense of probity in relating to his entire constituents as they were the people that made his present official position possible through their votes.