By OLA AJAYI
AGAINST all entreaties, Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State ,Tuesday, sealed up the International Institute of Journalism situated at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Led by the Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Alhaji Mukaila Aborode, some staff of the ministry and armed police officers
The governor made good his threats to dispossess the council of the property which has been a subject of litigation for the past few months.
Reciting it as a nursery rhyme, the commissioner kept on saying he was carrying out the order from above without saying specifically who instructed him.
The governor may have been irked by the fact that one of the buildings in the school was named after his perceived political rival, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.
It was gathered that some of the students of the institute and some children of the Pen Junior School were around when the seal up Order by Oyo State Government was pasted on the doors.
Reacting to the attitude of the state government, the Coordinator, International Institute of Journalism, Ibadan study center, Alhaji Bolaji Kareem said, since the matter had been taken to court “we expect that the government would follow the due process of law.”
He said the premises was given to the NUJ by the former Military Governor, Colonel Ike Nwosu. And in 1999, the then Governor Ladoja who came in 2003 later confirmed that the place belonged to NUJ and his government renovated the building to the tune of three million naira. It was in appreciation of Ladoja’s gesture that the union named a building in it after him and Akala was then the deputy while the commissioning of the project was carried out”.
“But when recently the incumbent governor Akala was making efforts to sell the place in line with the government’s take over of its quarters and sales of same, we appealed to him to suspend the sale of this premises and we also met with two former Governors, Omololu Olunloyo and Kolapo Ishola and notable traditional and religious leaders in the state for the governor to stop the move but all these fell on deaf ears until the matter became subject of litigation”, he stated.
“Last Thursday, at the first hearing of the matter at the rent tribunal the government approached to take over this premises, counsel to the government gave wrong information to the tribunal that our counsel had been asking for several adjournments on the matter which to us, was not true.
“Then, the motion filed by our lawyer, Ranti Ajeleti mysteriously disappeared from the court files and despite arguments canvassed by our lawyer, the court did not give room for us to prove our case and summarily ordered that we should vacate the place for the government. That was last week Thursday afternoon and it only gave us a grace of one working day i.e till yesterday (Monday).
Asked what the council did to prevent the government from ejecting them, he said “we approached an Ibadan High Court yesterday (Monday) where we filed motions against the tribunal’s action for the court to stop the government from ejecting us because the judgment of the lower tribunal was a perversion of justice and unholy to say the least”.