By Gid Ahanonu
Neighouring communities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) have been warned to desist from encroaching on land belonging to the university.
The FUTO Vice Chancellor, Prof. Francis Eze, gave the warning when he briefed newsmen at the Senate Chambers, recently.
Professor Eze decried the rate at which some members of the host communities sell some portions of FUTO’s land to unsuspecting buyers who in turn develop them for financial gains without verification from the ministry of lands, noting that such acts were illegal.
He stated that the land speculators had cleared up to five hectares of land across the students’ hostel site for sale to estate developers.
Professor Eze recalled that in the past, those groups vandalized the building at the back gate of the school but that the police intervened when management invited them.
The Vice Chancellor noted that children of host communities who were qualified for university education were given admission and others offered employment, for them to maintain peaceful co-existence, yet to no avail.
He disclosed that FUTO has been leading in academics in Nigeria despite these disturbances hence, he called on all stakeholders to intervene for excellence to be sustained, adding that the institution was a big investment of the federal government in the South East.
He, however, said that he had embarked on perimeter fencing of the university, and assured the people that the encroachment challenges including sand escavation business of the villagers that threaten the bridge across the river at FUTO would stop on completion of the fencing.
He then appealed to good-spirited individuals to come and build hostels in the school under the scheme of “Build, Operate and Transfer,” or donate to the institution like in Unizik Awka in Anambra State.
“Don’t show violence, let us live amicably,” the vice chancellor stated.
By Gid Ahanonu