The land dispute between the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in Osun State and some indigenes of the ancient town has assumed a new dimension as some of the aggrieved persons, claiming ownership of some portions of the university land, invaded the university on Wednesday and reportedly poisoned the university dam.
Sources in the university told our correspondent on Friday that some indigenes, who claimed their land was taken for the university when it was established in 1962, had been selling some portions of the land.
The sources said the aggrieved indigenes were challenged by the university and stopped from further trespassing.
But the issue was said to have taken another dimension, when some of the aggrieved land owners allegedly invaded the university from the Parakin area and headed for the Opa Dam, which is the only source of water to the university community.
Before the university security operatives could challenge them, the armed hoodlums were said to have poured poisonous chemicals in the dam which killed all the fishes and aquatic animals there.
A worker at the university, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that the hoodlums would have caused a disaster in the university if the officials had pumped the water to hostels and staff quarter that day.
He said, “The university’s security personnel raised the alarm after chasing away the hoodlums. Everything inside the dam died and we have not pumped water since that time.”
Based on this, the Vice-Chancellor of the OAU, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, had petitioned the Commissioner of Police in Osun State, Abiodun Ige, urging the police to arrest the perpetrators of the crime.
The vice-chancellor also copied the Director of Department of State Services in Osun State, Mr Brown Ekwoaba, stressing that the university would not engage in any illegal act on the issue.
A source made available a copy of the letter dated April 3, 2019 with reference number:VC.26(i)Vol.Vol.1/64 to our correspondent.
The letter read, “On the 3rd April, 2019 at about 15:00hours, a report of invasion and pollution of the university dam by a group of people, who claimed to be members of Great Ife Development Board was received by the security unit of the university.
“The group of people, who were fully armed with guns, axes, cutlasses, etc, invaded the lower level of OAU dam and polluted the water with chemicals which led to the death of several fishes and other aquatic animals.
The report also indicated that these criminally-minded individuals gained access into the dam through a portion of the university land at Parakin area, Ile-Ife, where there had been several reports of land encroachment by some Ife indigenes.
By Femi Makinde, Punch