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No Centenarian was traumatized over land dispute, says Nigerian Polytechnic

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Officials of Kwara State Polytechnic, north central Nigeria, have come to claim that neither its staff nor security operatives traumatized a certain Pa Kadiri Abdulkareem Akanji, a 135 year old man during a land reclamation effort that began last week as earlier reported by DDM.

Rather, the school’s officials claim that the Kwara state government, owners of the school, has compensated a total number of 122 families, including Gaata, community of Pa Akanji, who were original owners of the lands where the  Polytechnic in 1973.

“We have no record of any 135 years old man living in Gata and claim to that age is rather strange,” says Director of Students Services, Surveyor Abubakar Garba Aremu.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin on Friday, the, Aremu, in company of some other members of the school management, said that the 122 families were adequately compensated as at July 6, 1974, adding that they were asked to move out of the land.

The institution’s director of Student’s Services also said that over 1,000 hectares of land had been encroached upon out of a total land space of 4,500 hectares of the school.

Authorities of the Kwara State Polytechnic (Kwara poly) have also appealed to the state government to embark on immediate construction of perimeter fencing of land allocated to the school in 1973 to save it from being taken over by land encroachers.

Surveyor Aremu, who said that construction of development projects and infrastructures had been denied by the effects of the encroachment activities of 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.

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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 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, who said that a total number of 122 families were adequately compensated as at July 6, 1974 and advanced to move out of the land.

He said that amount 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.

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“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 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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