Encroachment: Kwarapoly seeks Govt’s support for perimeter fencing of iand

Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin

Authorities of the Kwara State Polytechnic (Kwara poly) have appealed to the state government to immediately embark on the construction of perimeter fencing of land allocated to the institution in 1973 so as to put a permanent halt to its encroachment.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, the Director of Students Services, Surveyor Abubakar Garba Aremu, in company of some other members of the school management, said that over 1,000 hectares of land had been encroached upon out of a total land space of 4,500 hectares of the allotted to the institution.

Surveyor Aremu, who said that construction of development projects and infrastructure had been denied the institution as a result of encroachment by the villagers, added that threats, intimidation and litigation by the villagers had served as stumbling block against the plan of the school to establish a School of Agriculture.

He also said that encroachment of the land by the villagers had denied accreditation of such courses as Agricultural Technology and Agricultural Engineering by the NBTE, adding that “absence of adequate land space for the courses would be detrimental for the much needed accreditation when the accreditation committee comes back to see that we don’t have the land ready”.

Surveyor Aremu, who said that he had been involved in the management of the institution’s land since 2013, said that a total space of 5,400 hectares was acquired for the school in 1973 when it was established by the military administration of late Colonel David Bamgboye.

“When we ceded part of the land by 300 meters to the villagers, the institution’s land was reduced to 4,500 hectares”.

The institution’s Director of Student’s Services said a total number of 122 families were adequately compensated as at July 6, 1974 and advised to move out of the land, adding that the amounts of money paid to the original land owners varied according to the land space acquired by the state government.

“Unfortunately, many of the villagers refused to move out of the land even after collecting the compensation. About a total of 49 villages. The families were also merged and asked to move to form a bigger village. Specific metres were allocated to them.
Rather, they stayed put where they were. However, caretakers of the land are actually the problem now. Some of the people relocated came back to farm after they were relocated.

“Meanwhile, we’ll not be deterred by campaign of calumny or litigation by people already compensated. Kwara poly extends to Oyun river Bridge, Oloru, Oke Ose, Dangiwa. So, anyone occupying those areas are occupying Kwara poly land.

“It’s the responsibility of Kwara government to sustain the property to serve the educational purpose it was established for. We as caretaker of the land as it as our responsibility to see that it’s not encroached upon.

“It should also be stated that Kwara state government didn’t take over the land but acquired the land for the benefit of general interest of construction of Kwara poly.

“We have some of the villagers as ad hoc staff and we also provide employment opportunities for them when available. We supplied them electricity from our 33KVA transformer, they get water from our Oke Apon dam, while we dug bore hole for them in some places. We also hold community peace meetings among them”.

The school management used the opportunity of the press interaction to commend the efforts of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, for setting up a mediation committee to resolve land disputes in Ilorin, saying that the establishment of the committee was already yielding results “as many of the villagers are withdrawing court cases against the Kwara poly”


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