By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKA- VISITORS to the Igbariam campus of the Anambra State-owned Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University often express worry over the manner in which cattles and members of the university community struggle for space in the area. In fact, some first time visitors think that the campus has officially been designated a grazing area considering the large number of cows and herdsmen that roam the campus daily.
It is common to see cow dung litter all the asphalted roads that crisscross the campus. Oftentimes cows are seen surrounding lecture halls, faculty and administrative buildings even when work is going on.
Sometimes the cows would cause traffic chaos as the herdsmen take their time to accompany them to their grazing areas inside the campus.
South East Voice recalls that sometime in 2015, the university authorities complained bitterly over the matter and a meeting was held between leaders of Fulani and the traditional ruler of Igbariam, Igwe Kelly on how to reduce the friction between the herdsmen and farmers in the area.
Though the herdsmen withdrew from the campus that time, they later returned and have been having a field day since.
Some of the workers in the university who spoke on the matter said they have resigned to fate, adding that the sight of the cows has become a common feature in the university. According to some of those who spoke, cows have become part of the university community since nobody was prepared to chase them away.
Mr. Stan Nwobi, who went to the university to transact a private business at the time SEV visited, said he is used to the sight anytime he visits the university, describing it as an anomaly.
He said: “It is embarrassing to see this kind of thing in the university campus every day and I wonder what the management of the university is doing about it. Sometimes one would stay for minutes waiting for cows to pass, even when one is trying to beat time.”
Nwobi said the attraction of the herdsmen into the campus might be the greenish environment and artificial lakes that provide water for the cows, but insisted that something should be done to stop the herdsmen from messing up the environment.
A staff of the university, who gave his name as Douglas said there was a time students threatened to handle the matter their own way, but were stopped by the management. He said that sometimes, hundreds of cows could be seen roaming the campus and destroying farmlands, wondering why the herdsmen should be acting as if they were above the law.
“I know that authorities of this university can stop this menace if they want to, but it would appear that they are afraid of taking the necessary action and I don’t know why,” Douglas said.