Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor of OAU

Government set to deal with land grabbers encroaching on OAU land: Vice-Chancellor

*We had already sensitised the general public, particularly by airing radio jingles in all the radio stations in Osun State, and to also warn those misled into buying government land, that the Federal Government is not only prepared but ready to secure the University land ─Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government of Nigeria has put in place every machinery to secure the land and deal with the land grabbers encroaching on the 11,961 hectares on which Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in Osun State, is located without any fear or compromise.

Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor of OAU, at a recent press conference in Ile-Ife said the land grabbers claimed the land donated to the University, fondly called by students and admirers as ‘Great Ife’ was ‘too much’, and had gone ahead to sell some of the land in the Parakin area of the campus.

The Vice-Chancellor of OAU stated: “Before this time, nobody has ever ventured or encroached into university land until recently when some land grabbers audaciously insisted that ‘the land given to the university by the founding fathers was too much, and that OAU should be ready to forgo the portion around Parakin axis of Ile-Ife.”

An aerial view of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife campus

“Lo and behold, what we initially thought to be rumour now turned into reality as we discovered later that some people have not only encroached into the land, but have been brazenly selling it to individuals who have now started erecting some structures on it.”

Ogunbodede noted that in 2019, the criminally-minded individuals went as far as breaking the university’s fence and poisoning its water dam.

On efforts at maintaining peace with the host community in the area, the Vice-Chancellor related that in “exploring the cordial relationship between the university and the Ife community, the university management, led by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, engaged Ooni Adeyeye Ogunwusi and the leadership of Ife Community in dialogue.

“Letters had also been written to His Imperial Majesty, in addition to official discussions by the Council chairman and the Vice-Chancellor.

“It was erroneously believed that the issue had been resolved. The said land, although clearly gazetted as university land and on which the university had exercised ownership for decades without let or hindrance, was forcefully broken into by the same set of people on April 3, 2019, and the university dam was poisoned.

“This led to the death of fishes and other aquatic animals.”

He also noted that “with an express mandate from the Federal Government and the marching orders from the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, we had already sensitised the general public, particularly by airing Radio Jingles in all Radio Stations in Osun State, and to also warn those who have been misled into buying government land, that the Federal Government is not only prepared but ready to secure the university land.

In line with the Federal Government’s directive, the Vice-Chancellor said Obafemi Awolowo University was not ready to cede its land to intruders and had started taking steps to secure the land.

He explained that “all illegal and encroaching structures will have to give way as the university is not ready to cede an inch of its gazetted land.

“The university intends to start with the first phase of securing the land by fencing the entire area.

“While we agree that it is important to remain friendly with the local communities around the university, it is necessary at the same time to protect the legacy of the landed property of the university.”

The University, therefore, warns that “in strict compliance with the directive of the Federal Government, every machinery has been set in motion to secure the university land without any fear or compromise.

“We hereby wish to warn anybody or any group of persons who may want to foment any trouble that law enforcement agencies have been officially briefed about this development.”

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