From Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Against the background of reports that Federal Government has ceded 300 hectares of land belonging to the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), to the institution’s host communities as a strategic means to appease them, Prof Francis Eze, the university Vice Chancellor has debunked the claims as untrue.
Eze also said that it was not true that he had refused to sign the Memorandum of understanding(MOU), brought before the management of the University by the attorney of the host communities for the purported implementation of the ceded lands to the host communities.
It’s pertinent to recalled that Mr Sam Anokam, the Attorney of the host communities of the Federal University of Technology Owerri , had recently accused the Vice Chancellor ,Prof Francis Eze of stalling the implementation of the agreement by his refusal to sign the memorandum of understanding between the host communities and the University.
However, addressing a press conference on Monday at the University Senate Chamber, Prof Eze stated categorically that at no time did the Federal Government ceded any land to the host communities and accused the attorney of the host communities of spreading falsehood.
According to him, ” The Governing Council of the University had set up a committee on conflict resolution which has been meeting with the host communities and the Imo state government.
The council had proposed that the federal government could cede at least 900 hectares of land to host communities. The state government had directed the commissioner for lands and the Surveyor General of the state to work with FUTO management team and work out the exact hectares of lands that would be ceded to the host communities through the state government. “
He added, “We have not returned any inch of the University land to anybody let alone 300 hectares ,it is not possible because it is only the Governing Council that can do that So, the claims of Sam Anokam that I have refused to sign the Memorandum Of Understanding between the host communities and the University is false ,because there was no time that the Federal government ordered the University to give out 300 hectares of land and I refused. “
The Vice Chancellor also pointed out that the problem of encroachment on the land of the University had continued unabated around the Ihiagwa and Eziobodo, and the Avu axis which is the proposed site of the Medical School of the University , but that the Attorney of the host communities, Sam Anokam is opposed to it because of his pecuniary interest .
“We are not fighting anybody until we reach an agreement with the State government on the ceding of any portion of the University land. Whenever such an agreement is reached the agreed land will be returned to the host communities through the State government who had acquired the lands abnitio from the host communities. But the attorney of the host communities, Sam Anokam is opposed to that agreement because of his pecuniary interest” he lamented.