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FUTO: Angry youths demand compensation

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• Want Excise Of Lands Acquired From Host Communities, 38 Years After

Scores of angry youths from 11 autonomous communities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), on Friday, temporarily disrupted academic, administrative and ongoing visitation panel activities in the institution.

They asked the school authorities to pay them compensation for their lands. They also demanded that portions of the land be excised to them for settlement, while sizeable number of indigenes should be employed in the institution.

The Imo State Government acquired over 4,000 hectares of land for the institution’s take-of in 1982. But, the host communities are claiming that relevant authorities acquired more than required and alleged they were not paid any compensation.

The protesting youths, led by Victor Aharanwa of Umuoma Autonomous Community accused the outgoing Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Francis Eze, of not facilitating action towards paying the original land owners compensations before his exit from office in June.

The youths carried placards with inscriptions: “We demand compensation,” “ Compensation has not been paid for our lands for the past 38 years, and we cannot allow FUTO to take it …” “The Attorney of the host communities is Chief Sam Anokam, nobody else. FUTO cannot approve another attorney for us. We are satisfied with Sam Anokam. FUTO should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).”

They warned that no contractor should enter the land, since they were not compensated. They also flayed the management for not employing host communities’ indigenes.

Reacting, the Vice Chancellor, Eze, said there was plan to excise some portions of the lands to the communities, hinting that Governor Hope Uzodimma had gone far with mediation process.

He said: “We are going to resolve the matter. In the next few days, it will be over. We agreed in our committee meeting that we are going to excise some portions of the land to the host communities. The Federal Government is handling it. It will hand over to the State Government. I am the one that agreed to excise the land in the interest of peace. Hopefully, it will be done before I leave office…”

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