TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE PRESIDENT OF IFE DEVELOPMENT BOARD, COMRADE JIRE AWOWOYIN, ON BEHALF OF IFE COMMUNITY ON THE DISPUTED PORTIONS OF LAND BETWEEN IFE COMMUNITY AND THE MANAGEMENT OF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY HELD AT THE OBA OKUNADE SIJUWADE MEMORIAL HALL, ENUWA, ILE-IFE ON TUESDAY 22ND DECEMBER, 2020.
Good afternoon gentlemen of the Press. We are here this afternoon on behalf of Ife community, to debunk the bare-faced lies which the Management of Obafemi Awolowo University heartlessly sold to the entire world and the general public in its Press Statement of yesterday, the 21st day of December, 2020 in respect of the size and boundaries of the land graciously released to the Government of the Western Region by Ife Community between 1958, when the establishment and sitting of the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University came to the fore and 1965, when the then Western Region Government eventually gazetted the transaction
While the Management of Obafemi Awolowo has done its worst in muddling up the facts as contained in available documents that sealed the establishment of a university for the Western Region in 1962, we wish to present to the entire world and the general public the incontrovertible facts from the unbiased lense of irrefutable documents with facts and figures contained therein:
- THE SURVEY PLAN “OYO PROVINCE IFE DIVISION IFE (SURVEY PLAN NO. IFE 41): From the content of the above mentioned Plan No. Ife 41, archived and available in the Surveyor General’s Office, the total land area given to the Western Region by Ife Province for the purpose of the establishment of a university for the Western Nigeria was 13,852 Acres. This land area is bounded by river Opa and Amuta Stream to the South and East as clearly marked on the above mentioned Survey Plan No. Ife 41.
- THE GAZETTE OF THE WESTERN REGION OF NIGERIA OF 1961:
The general public cannot be unaware that the business of Government are sealed and legalised in gazette which is usually in print form for the purpose of conferring legitimacy on Government’s actions. In 1965, therefore, the land transaction between Ife Province and the Western Region was gazetted in gazette number 13, Vol 10 of 16th March, 1961.
The University Management has several times, out of avarice and desperation to legitimise a unilateral appropriation of the Community land beyond Opa River and Amuta Stream, made baseless references to the only gazette published in 1965, to support its unilateral appropriation of the community land done in 1987, more than two decades after the 1965 gazette.
Based on this unilateral appropriation of Community land by the Management of Obafemi Awolowo University in which it arrogate to itself 11, 961 Hectares of | land, it commenced indiscriminate sales of the land to private individuals under the guise of Public Private Partnership and BOT purposely to enrich members of the Management and not the University.
Examples abound of instances of such sales exposed by various Committees of the University in the recent past. A very disturbing case of such sales is the Sales of 3000 Hectares of farm land to Harvesters Farm Limited under the guise of lease in 2013 by the then Senior Principal Officers of the University led by Prof. Bamitale Omole.
The University Management has taken for granted the favourable disposition of the Community to extent of doing business for their personal benefits with the land given to the University for academic, research and training purposes. We also gathered that the Surveyor General of the Federation has issued, signed and sealed a Survey Plan No. 05/1356/2013/001, measuring 2557.1314 Hectares of Ife Land in favour of the Harvesters Farms Ltd. The shenanigans of the University Management is ad-infito.
We therefore wish to inform the General public that Ife Community does not recognize any land allocation or acquisition documents other than the Survey Plan No Ife 41 and the 1965 Gazette, where the land area given to the Western Nigerian Government is 13,852 Acres as against 11, 961 Hectares being claimed by the University Management.
We challenge the University Management to approach any court of competent jurisdiction if it is sure of its claim. It is equally important to WARN THE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT TO STEER CLEAR OF EVERY SQUARE METER OF LAND BEYOND WHAT WAS APPROVED FOR THE THEN WESTERN REGION GOVERNMENT BY IFE DIVISION AS CONTAINED IN THE GAZETTE
COMRADE LO AWOWOYIN
IFE DEVELOPMENT BOARD
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