The Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU), Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, says law enforcement agencies have been duly briefed to deal with anybody or group of persons that may want to forcefully take over the university land.
According to him, all illegal and encroaching structures on the university land will also have to give way as the institution is not ready to cede an inch of its gazetted land.
Speaking at a press briefing in Ile-Ife on Monday, Ogunbodede stated that in 1961 when the university was founded by the government of the then Western Region of Nigeria, the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adesoji Aderemi, who also doubled as the Governor of Western Region, with the support of the Ife Community donated the land on which Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is now situated.
He explained that the university occupies a land area of Eleven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Sixty One (11,961) hectares.
According to him, “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”.
He stated that what was initially thought to be rumour now turned into reality as the university discovered later that some people had not only encroached into the land, but have been brazenly selling it to individuals who have now started erecting some structures on it.
The Vice-Chancellor said the Council had directed at the June 2019 meeting that Management should approach the External Solicitors to issue a Caveat Emptor on behalf of OAU.
He explained :”The Caveat Emptor was published in the Punch and Nigerian Tribune Newspapers of August 8, 2019. A group of Ife Chiefs published a rejoinder/paid advert in the Nigerian Tribune of 15th of August, 2019.”
He however said the Ile-Ife Royal Brothers Club also issued a Press Release and advertorial in the Informant of 26th August to September 1, 2019 condemning the sale of University land “by any individual, group or personality” and asserting that “the sale of the land meant for the overall development of Ile-Ife by few greedy individuals should be roundly condemned”.
“Analyzing 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 Enitan Babatunde Ogunwusi, Ojaja II 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 VC said.
Ogunbodede said, the 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 3rd April, 2019, and the University dam was poisoned. “This led to the death of fishes and other aquatic animals”.
He said, “Following this incident, the intervention of the police and other security agencies reduced activities on the land for some months, until very recently”.
” It is obvious that drastic but legal measures must be taken to reverse the trend and prevent any future occurrence with an express mandate from the Federal Government and the marching order from the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu. We had already sensitized the general public, particularly by airing Radio Jingles in all the 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.
He said 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.
You want to share a story with us? You want to advertise? You need publicity for a product, service, or event? Contact us on WhatsApp – +234 803 3018 881