From Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri
Host communities of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) have begun a move to end indiscriminate encroachment into lands within the area known as Aroche New Town.
To this effect, youths from the six constituent communities- Ihiagwa, Dindi Ihiagwa, Umuanunu, Umuoma Nekede, Obinze and Avu – were inaugurated as ambassadors of the new town in order to fight encroachment into the land.
Inaugurating the youth ambassadors in Ihiagwa, Owerri West council area of the state, the attorney of FUTO host communities, Chief Sam Anokam, said the land was acquired by the federal government and given to FUTO, which the host communities were seeking excision back to them.
Anokam said: “We have not quite concluded the process (of excision), but we are in the process. We are sure the excision will be concluded.
“However, we are not happy with the way our people and others are encroaching on the land. This runs contrary to our objective.
“If they give us back the land, we expect that that area should be properly planned and the customary land owners will be properly compensated in relation to their land areas in the place.
“So, a situation where individuals, families, speculators are forcing the people to buy, will be counterproductive. That is what we want to stop with our youths. No further encroachment until we have concluded the process and plan the place properly with the approval of government.”
The attorney noted that if the communities allow the encroachment to continue, the consequences would be dire.
“Because of unapproved and unplanned buildings springing up in the area, by the time the process is concluded, a lot of buildings would be demolished by the government which will result to resistance. So, we don’t want it to get to that point,” he said.
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