For some years now, the Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO, have been having some misunderstandings with its host communities bothering on encroachment of FUTO lands by the host communities, and alleged non payment of adequate compensation by the Federal government.
This misunderstandings have severally threatened the peace between the two. Recently, the Federal Government, through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, had threatened to relocate the University over enchroachment of the FUTO’s land by the host communities, which it said will no longer be tolerated.
Reacting to the threat, the host communities described the allegation of encroaching on the University land as a misrepresentation of fact, intended to paint the communities in bad light, adding that the University has not complied with laid down procedure on land acquisition in line with the Land Use Act.
They insisted that, “the hue and cry and probably threat to remove the University does not move us in any way, we are dealing with people in citadel of learning and we expect them to come with facts, not with propaganda, they are not politicians.”
The host communities however restated their willingness to cooperate with the Federal Government to resolve the impasse.
“We are willing to cooperate with the Federal Government to see that the issue is resolved in the interest of both parties, in the interest of those that willingly allowed their land to be acquired and in the interest of the Federal Government itself and not in the interest of any individual in FUTO.”
Daily Nigerian Horn believes that the issue of Federal Government’s establishments and their host communities is a give and take relationship.
The use of threat and violence must not be allowed. We urge the Federal Government to do the needful by looking into the agreement once again, especially the host communities demand of N5.8billion compensation.
We equally urge the host communities to desist from further encroachment of the FUTO lands as alleged by the institution.
Also, while the impasse is being resolved, there is the need to fence the boundaries between the University and the host communities to prevent future encroachment. It takes two to tango, it equally takes two to settle things amicably.
FUTO cannot attain its educational height when it has hostile communities to deal with. Also, the host communities cannot deny that the establishment of the University in their soil has not yielded any economic or social benefits to them. Please allow peace to reign.
This is our take.