FUTO: Host communities protest alleged illegal acquisition of land, demand justice
Members and leaders of the eight host communities housing the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) have warned the authorities of the institution to return their lands or face their wrath.
Piqued by the comments made by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sunny Echonu, disclosing the Federal Government’s plans to relocate FUTO and similar institutions where host communities are agitating compensations for lands acquired, host communities of FUTO told the Federal Government that they were not scared by this threat, asking the institution and relevant authorities to either return their over 4,455 hectares of land acquired without compensations or pay them.
The communities are Ihiagwa, Eziobodo, Umuoma, Nekede, Unuanunu, Obinze, Okolochi, Obibiezena and Avu, all in Owerri West Local Council, where the institution is sited. The communities are demanding N4.5 billion for the said lands. Attorney to the communities, Sam Anokam, who spoke on behalf of the communities, regretted the comments credited to Echono, insisting that from all indications so far, the ministry lacked capacity to resolve the matter.
Anokam said they are not going back on their demand of said amount, stressing that since the institution began 37 years ago, at the actual expanse of land that the institution could lay claim to, is 1,300, noting that only about 10 percent of the total sum had been paid so far.
But the Vice Chancellor of FUTO, Francis Eze, said the matter was settled, adding that the institution was not indebted to them since it has been employing people from the host communities.