FUTO, host communities disagree over ancestral lands | Dailytrust

FUTO, host communities disagree over ancestral lands

Host communities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), have vowed to resist further acquisition of their ancestral land by the institution.

The institution, however, said that all the authorities concerned are working round the clock to resolve the issues.

The host communities of FUTO are Avu, Obinze, Dindi, Ihiagwa, Umuanunu and Umuoma Nekede.

They called on the university authorities to abide by the decision of the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Works to excise part of the land they are now occupying and revert it back to them (host communities).

Leader of the host communities, Chief Sam Anukam, who spoke to our correspondent in an interview in Owerri, said that the people are very much concerned by the recent action of the university in connivance with the Imo State government to continue the incursion into their land despite the recommendations of a committee set up by the Federal Ministry of Works that looked into the issue of land acquisition by the university.

According to him, FUTO had in 1982 applied for 4550 hectares of land, but paid compensation for about 1300 hectares.

He said when the issue could not be resolved by the Late Prof. Cyril Onwuliri’s administration and the agitation became intense, a technical committee was set up by the ministry with members drawn from FUTO and host communities, which recommended that because of the fact that the money involved in compensation could be high, FUTO should remain with the 1300 hectares of land they paid for and give back about 1,260 hectares to the host communities.

He said that the communities were however taken aback when the present administration of Governor Hope Uzodimma came to power and promised to recover all the lands for FUTO.

He accused the university authorities of deceiving the governor, who was not aware of all the previous agreements in respect of the lands.

The Public Relations Officer of FUTO, Mrs Uche Bright-Nwaelue, told our correspondent that the school authority is partnering with the federal and state governments on the one hand and the host communities on the other to put the issues at rest.

“Our relationship with the host communities has been mutually beneficial.  They have benefitted a lot from FUTO as an institution and we have equally enjoyed the privilege of having them as our host. So, we cannot jeopardise this symbiotic relationship,” she said.

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