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Land Encroachment: OAU, Ife Community In War Of Words

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The management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in Osun State on Monday has issued serious warning to members of the Ife community erecting buildings on the university land to remove such structures, as the school is set to remove any illegal structure on its land.

According to Vanguard, The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, while addressing a press conference at the university campus, said some individuals have been encroaching on portions of the university land around Parakin area of the town.

According to him, the university occupies a land area of 11,961 hectares since 1961, until recently when some individuals felt the ceded land is too much for the school and began to encroach on it.

Ogunbodede said: “Let me say here that before this time, nobody has ever ventured or encroached into the 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.

“Exploring 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 Ogunwusi 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 said 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 April 3, 2019, and the university dam was poisoned. This led to the death of fishes and other aquatic animals.

“Accordingly, with an express mandate from the Federal Government and the marching orders from the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, we had already sensitized the general public, particularly by airing Radio Jingles in all 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.

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“In strict compliance with the directive of the Federal Government, every machinery has been set in motion to secure the university land without any fear or compromise. We, hereby, wish to warn anybody or any group of persons, who may want to foment any trouble, that law enforcement agencies have been officially briefed about this development.”

OAU annexing land outside their map —Ife community

Reacting to the development, Ife community spokesperson, Banwo Ogundipe said the university failed to produce a map to back up their claim that the Parakin area is part of land ceded to the school in 1961.

Ogundipe said: “We have a map of the size of the land given to the then Western Region by Ife community. We have not encroached on the university’s land. We have been on this since 2013. The land in contention has never belonged to the university.

“The last time we met, they brought a gazette of 1961, which we have. And we were able to prove to them that the land in contention is outside the one given to OAU by the government.”

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