Encroachment: Nsukara Offot youths dare University of Uyo …Seek Govt. Intervention
The youths of Nsukara Offot Vil lage, one of the host communities of the University of Uyo, have vowed to resist further encroachment on their land by the university management until the lingering boundary crisis between the University and their host communities are resolved amicably.
The youths of the community made this position known on Monday during a peaceful protest against the decision of the University authority which has already commenced a building project on some of the disputed plots owned by the community.
They stormed the project site forcing the contractors on site to abandon their work half way. The situation however drew the attention of the University Council, which as at the time of filing this report had an interface with the protesting members of the community.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Enefiok Essien who led other members of the Council to the site is reported to have called for dialogue to enable them deliberate on the way forward. The youth of the area had stormed the site with placards calling on the University to stop further encroachment on their land.
Some of the placards had inscriptions such as “University of Uyo has destroyed our Palm Fruit Plantation without our consent… “Why do you want to destroy Amasa stream with your drainage system… “You are taking advantage of our simple nature for granted”.
Addressing Journalists during the protest, Chief Etim Edet Akpan accused the University of Uyo management of insensitivity to the plight of their host community members, particularly their refusal to dialogue with the host community on how to resolve the age long boundary dispute bothering on encroachment into their ancestral land.
Also speaking, Pastor Etop Efah said the University had over the years remained adamant to the community’s plea for dialogue to create a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U) which is the case between host communities and other Universities in the country.
Efah explained further that the location where the University is sitting the ongoing building project was a Palm Fruit Plantation belonging to Nung Abasi Umoh family adding that the University had since uprooted the Plantation without the consent of the affected family members.
He disclosed that the institution had over the years distorted the traditional boundaries despite the fact that his community had donated 64 percent of the University land. He therefore called on the Federal and State Government to intervene on the matter by compelling the University management to accept to sit on a negotiating table to discuss the way forward.
“We are therefore appealing to the University Management to consider our peaceful approach by engaging us on a dialogue on ways to carry the host community along in the scheme of things” he noted.
On his part, Engr. Okon Etim, a youth leader in the area, frowned at the non-chalant attitude of the institutions management in engaging the people of the area on a peaceful talk but has resorted to a forceful approach of which he noted will not augur well for the institution and the society at large.
He explained further that the community have deployed all other avenues to resolve the issues but to no avail and has therefore vowed to resist further attempt by the University to encroach on their land.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chairman of a boundary Committee constituted by the village to resolve the matter, Mr. Jerry Akparawa hinted that they have employed all peaceful measures to resolve the boundary issues but to no avail.