Michael Olanrewaju, Osogbo.
The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife has disclosed its none readiness to concede any portion of its land to landgrabbers under the guise of community development.
This was disclosed to newsmen by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju while taking members of the State Correspondents Chapel of NUJ round the Parakin area of the University land territory encroached upon by some suspected thugs.
At the land territory was a signboard put on the land written “Oduduwa Housing Estate, Parakin Area, Ile-Ife , Ife Community. The markings showing that it has been sold to individuals with layout are visible.
At the new three hostels built in the area by the university with the fund from the needs assessment of the Federal Government which we were told would have accomodated not less than 360 students were lying fallow because the landgrabbers or their agents brought fetish objects there to scare the authority that is not interested in towing with the physical and spiritual lives of the students’ from allocating them out.
The foundation of the fourth hostel that was started was halted because another signboard with the post, ” Stop Work, order by Ife Community” was conspicuously displayed and erected on the land.
The land which according to a source is about 162 hectares of land span from Parakin Area to Moremi Hostel of the institution. This land is considered too vast for the university and underutilized by the University authority by the landgrabbers. Hence, their desire to encroach and sell out the land to individuals with means in an area considered to be Government Reserved Area of the ancient town.
However, the university explained that the area according to the University Master plan shown to newsmen in the University Senate Building that has been gazetted in the early 1960s indicate that it has been reserved for Aeronautical Engineering with an aerodrum attached.
The university added that the thugs used by the landgrabbers to invade the lands got to the place with guns and cutlasses and entered the lower side of the university dam where it was poisoned with chemicals that led to the death of all living aquaculture like fish. Asking rhetorically that can anybody carry out fishing with guns? He equally lauded the vigilance of the university security operatives who avoided any gun duel with the alleged thugs as instructed by the Vice Chancellor.
However, the university assured all the parents, guardians and other stakeholders of the safety of the students’ and staffs which is about 60,000 as the university have a students’ population of about 38,000.
According him, the two days rain that followed the poisoning of the University dam helped a lot in the control of the possible genocidal situation from occuring. He also stated that proper tests has been conducted to certify that the water is now save for consumption.
He assured of the readiness of the university to partner with reputable individuals and organizations in the development of the university in accordance with its development plans. This, he said was what the university has been saying to those who came to meet the Vice Chancellor since last year August on the matter.
He also reminded the individuals involved that personal interest cannot be used as community interest and, or, agitation as the institution belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria.