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FUTO host-communities accuse VC of non-compliance with excision of land to them

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FUTO. PHOTO: www.nigeriaschool.com.ng

Eleven host-communities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), yesterday, protested, urging the Federal Government to step in and direct the institution’s authorities to excise about 1,000 hectares of land to them.

The communities, Avu, Obinze, Umuanunu, Ihiagwa, Ihiagwa ancient kingdom, Dindi Ihiagwa, Eziobodo, Ezeokele, Emeabiam, Obibiezena, Umuona Nekede and Okolochi, led by their Attorney/ Estate Surveyor, Chief Sam Anokam, in their protest letter in Owerri, said the Imo State Government in 1982 had acquired 4,455 hectares of land, which as of today, were no longer utilised by the institution, leaving the host-communities not to have settlement ancestral areas.

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Anokam recalled that the agitation by the communities resulted in the resolution by the Ministerial Technical Committee on FUTO Land Matters, inaugurated by the Federal Government via the Ministry of Works and Housing and later, Ministry of Education, to resolve that the about 1,000 hectares be returned to the communities, wondering why all the peaceful appeals by the communities to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Eze, to effect the resolution fell on deaf ears.

The representative of the host communities, who accused the VC of using the military to occupy the area more, urged the Federal Government to direct the VC to desist from using the armed military men to prevent them from accessing their ancestral land.

On the 500 hectares of land requested by the institution to build a teaching hospital, Anokam said the communities had agreed to give them 259 hectares, arguing that even the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, the biggest in the country, has 220 hectares, wondering why FUTO wants more.

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He said: “If there is any crisis, the government should hold the VC responsible.”

MEANWHILE, Eze, while debunking the allegations, said that there was no time instruction or directive was given to him to excise or return about 1,000 hectares of land to the host-communities.

The VC also denied using the military to occupy the disputed land, maintaining that he would take instructions from the Federal Government when directed at any time.

He hinted that he was working with the Imo State Government to realise the teaching hospital project, which he said, would benefit everyone by bringing development and more employment to all the stakeholders.

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