Land Encroachment: Government threatens to relocate federal institutions

Temitope Mistapha, Abuja

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The Federal government has threatened to relocate the Federal University of Technology Owerri FUTO, and other government institutions experiencing crisis of land encroachment to other States.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Sonny Echono, gave the warning in Abuja on Thursday when the Governing Council of FUTO visited him in the Ministry.

Echono decried the spate of land encroachment in many government owned institutions located across states in the country.

He said that it was time the ministry began to advise the Federal government on possible relocation of these institutions to prevent crisis.

“The issue of land encroachment of FUTO is a serious matter for us here at the ministry. I want to state for the benefit of the public that we are getting to a position where the sector is going to advise the government on possible relocation of federal facilities in communities that continued to be hostile”

“This is not limited to FUTO, there are a number of institutions, even our federal Government Colleges, where government acquired land and paid full compensation for some of these schools”

“For those that are located at the outskirt and as development catches with the school, people now imagine that land left for future expansion and growth should be carved out and used for residential building, and that is what put a lot of pressure on these facilities” he added.

He noted that the state government officials and traditional institutions are accomplices in the acts of selling land that belongs to federal institutions.

According to the Permanent Secretary, “we are at the point where we will begin to recommend that we relocate such facilities and return them to states that are willing to accept them”

Earlier, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman ,Governing Board, FUTO, Prof. John Offem, said that successive FUTO administrations had faced the challenge of encroachment without much success ,while calling on the government to intervene.

Academic Programmes
The Pro-Chancellor also called for the intervention of the ministry to restore some delisted academic programmes of the school management and management technology by the National Universities Commission.

“For three consecutive academic sessions, FUTO has been denied admission of fresh students to programmes namely: maritime management technology, project management technology and transport management technology”

“The delisting if not reversed will lead to dearth of highly skilled manpower in these fields for our fledging industries”

Offem also mentioned that the purported resignation of the Chancellor of the university, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo, was not clear .

 “We have written and sent emissaries without any positive results, we heard through the grapevine that the chancellor had resigned his appointment but there has not been any official confirmation in this regard 

Nnenna.O