No fewer than 20 youths from Umuanunu Obinze and Umuchima Iheagwa communities in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State were on Wednesday arrested by the police for the massive destruction of the properties, including building under construction, belonging to the Federal University Technology, Owerri FUTO.
The youths, who stormed the university premises as early as 8.00am on Wednesday, razed the multi-million naira structures being erected by the university.
The Vice-Chancellor, VC, of the institution, Prof. Cyril Asiabaka, described the vandalisation as barbaric, unwarranted and uncalled for, since according to him, the institution had not been at loggerheads with the now aggressive communities.
At a briefing the press yesterday in his office, the VC argued that since the land belonging to the university invariably belongs to the Federal Government, the latter is the only legitimate authority to cede the institution’s land to another person.
He stressed that the university has not annexed any portion of land beyond that officially given to it by the Federal Government since establishment in 1980.
“The land we are using was legitimately and officially given to us by the Federal Government and we are not prepared to cede an inch to anybody, no matter the level of intimidation,” Asiabaka stated.
An enlarged management meeting of the institution, which deliberated extensively on the incident, condemned it describing it as act of lawlessness, brigandage and reaffirmed its confidence on the VC.
The management urged the VC to urgently commence steps for the perimeter fencing of the institution to avert a recurrence of the incident.
Asiabaka said that although the incident had not affected the smooth running of the university, it had been reported to security agencies who are now working round the clock to bring the perpetrators to book.
According to a police source, some people suspected to be behind the incident had been arrested, while more people were being questioned.
However, some villagers who were interviewed told schoolwatch.com.ng grapevine that their action was justified as the university’s management was said to have exceeded its bound by ‘enchroaching’ into their ancestral land.
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