Land Tussle: 122 families received compensation 50 years ago, says Kwara Poly

Mosunmola Ayobami, Ilorin

Kwara State Government compensated the original owners of the land on which the State Polytechnic was built in 1973, an official of the polytechnic has revealed.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, the Director of Students Services, Surveyor Abubakar Aremu in the company of other school management members,  said that as of July 6, 1974, 122 families were adequately compensated and subsequently told to vacate the land.

Surveyor Aremu added that following the establishment of the polytechnic by the military administration of Colonel David Bamgboye in 1973, 5,400 hectares were acquired for the school, subsequently, some families have encroached on over 1,000 hectares.

“The families were merged and asked to move to form a bigger village. Specific metres were allocated to them. Unfortunately, many villagers refused to move out of the land, even after collecting compensation. Rather they stayed put where they were. However, caretakers of the land are the problem now. Some of the people relocated returned to the farm after they were relocated,” Aremu said.

Surveyor Aremu stated that the activities of the villagers had hindered development projects and infrastructures as threats, intimidation and litigation from the villagers remain a stumbling block against the plan of the school to establish a School of Agriculture. 

He added that encroachment on the land had denied the institution accreditation of courses, including Agricultural Technology and Agricultural Engineering, stressing that the “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”. 

“It should be stated that the Kwara State Government didn’t take over the land but acquired it to construct Kwara Poly. 

“It’s the responsibility of the Kwara government to sustain the property to serve the educational purpose it was established for. As caretakers of the land, our responsibility is to see that it’s not encroached upon. 

“We’ll not be deterred by the campaign of calumny or litigation by people already compensated. Kwara Poly extends to Oyun River Bridge, Oloru, Oke Ose, and Dangiwa. So, anyone occupying those areas is occupying Kwara Poly land,” he warned.

Highlighting some of the benefits enjoyed by the community, Surveyor Aremu said, “We have some of the villagers as ad hoc staff and we also provide employment opportunities for them when available. We supplied them with electricity from our 33KVA transformer, and they got water from our Oke Apon dam, while we dug boreholes for them in some places. We also hold community peace meetings among them.”

Aremu used the opportunity to commend the 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”

He appealed to the state government to embark on the immediate construction of perimeter fencing of the land to save it from the encroachers. 

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