• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Still on the menace of land encroachers

Still on the menace of land encroachers

The Federal Government must, at this point in time, address the issue of encroachment on university lands once and for all. Many a time, we have been fed with news of the encroachment of university lands by grabbers, yet the government has not for once made any attempt at arresting the situation in order to ensure that it does not degenerate into a crisis.

In 2020, we read of how violence erupted at the University of Jos over the nefarious activities of land grabbers, who are obviously adamant about claiming the university land. They had even gone ahead to erect structures on university land. Meanwhile, it is important to teach our people that the fact that a university has not developed all its lands does not give anyone the express right to invade it and then start erecting structures on it.

In fact, the government must do everything to address the situation once and for all. Yes, we might say that whenever the government is ready to utilise those lands, the people will vacate them. But, we must take into consideration that structures have already been erected. What is the point of demolishing structures when we can ensure there was no invasion in the first instance?

“The dynamic the invasion takes is so disturbing and alarming that the federal government must wade in to immediately put the issue to rest once and for all.”

The issue of encroachment on university land is a very serious problem bedevilling ivory towers today. In fact, the situation at OAU is a case apart, not just a case study. The dynamic the invasion takes is so disturbing and alarming that the federal government must wade in to immediately put the issue to rest once and for all.

It is quite unimaginable that on the 2nd of April, one Oba Ologudu led a supposed group of Ife indigenes to the university land with a bulldozer to create a pathway behind Poplat Fueling Station. According to him, he has been mandated by the Ife community to build a wall fence to demarcate Ife land from that of OAU, which was his purpose for being there.

Though, as I write now, they have gone ahead to start erecting fences on the university land. It is even more disturbing that part of the land they are laying claim to has a 3-block students’ hostel, which the Ife community has not allowed the university to utilise since 2018 while the federal government looks the other way. It is the height of insanity for anyone to start erecting a fence on land that has a student hostel built with taxpayers’ money on it. Are Oba Ologudu and his fellow jesters trying to inherit a student hostel too? And is there anything like Ife Land?

In 2020, it was all over the news that the Ife community poisoned the university dam, which supplies water to the university community. Though the news was discredited by the Ife community, events since then (most especially their insistence that students will be harmed if they are allocated to the hostels) suggest that the claim of the university could not have been far from the truth.

It has become clearer that these intruders have a special interest in government land and properties, considering how recalcitrant they have become in encroaching on university land. It is a case of impudence and criminality.

The university management must ensure that the fence being erected by these elements does not stand. And the federal government must not just give a last warning to encroachers who have become so bold, but they should be arrested and prosecuted. Encroaching on a land that has been gazetted for the university by some elements who are now occupying some seats, which should ordinarily symbolise and promote decency, is highly disturbing. The Federal Government must urgently wade in to stop these land grabbers from encroaching on the university’s land, which was built with taxpayers’ money.

Kazeem Olalekan Israel writes from OAU, Ile-Ife