Shina Abubakar, Osogbo
Arm wielding hoodlums in Ile-Ife, on Monday attacked management of Obafemi Awolowo University, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede while trying to access part of the University’s land allegedly encroached by the community.
Professor Ogunbodede had led members of the University management and journalists to part of the land located around parakin which was allegedly encroached by Indigenes of Ife.
As the entourage approached the land from the Ede road axis and attempted to enter into the estate, where a signpost with the inscription, Oduduwa estate, has been erected, some thugs emerged from the estate and forcefully stopped the car.
The thugs shot into the air sporadically and were hitting the vehicles on the entourage with different weapons and forced the vehicles to make a u-turn back into the University campus.
They also attack vehicles that conveyed journalists to the scene, threatening to shoot anyone that dared take pictures or record the scene.
Addressing journalists in front of the University’s Senate building said the University will continue to engage the community despite the attack on the university officials toward resolving the dispute, adding that the Federal Government has expressed its unwillingness to cede any of the University’s land to anyone.
“The land they stopped us from accessing is part of the gazetted university land and we have a hostel on it completed over two years ago and because we do not want to lose any student, we did not allocate it as a hall of the resident.
“You can see that it is only God that saved us today. You can see the shooting and all sorts of things but we thank God that we all survived it. You can see that we are in a very serious situation as far as OAU land is concerned. A signpost with the inscription, Oduduwa Estate has been erected on the land. It is unfortunate.
“We will try as much as possible to continue to maintain peace because the university can not continue to exist without the community. We will try as much as possible to continue to reach a perfect understanding with the community. We have been doing it. We have succeeded over many years and we will continue to do it.
“We are not going to allow people to occupy the gazetted land without approval from the federal government. If the federal government decide to revise it, no problem. But, as far as the existing condition is still standing, it is going to be difficult for anybody to just cede out of the university land”, he said.
Reacting to the development, spokesperson to Ooni of Ife, Comrade Moses Olafare said the palace is not aware of any attack or hoodlums laying siege on the said land, urging the school management to investigate the incident.