The Ekpri Nsukara Offot Community has warned the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) authorities to stop forthwith the penchant to illegally acquire lands belonging to the village.
Speaking on the heels of fresh destruction of property in parts of the village, allegedly carried out by the University on Monday night, the community lamented that UNIUYO has constantly gone outside its boundary to amass their lands.
In a statement issued by the Chairman of the Village Council, Comrade Morris S. Bassey; the Secretary, Elder Domingo Bassey Etim and the President of the Youth Council of Ekpri Nsukara, Otuekong Emem Asikpo, the Community lamented that UNIUYO has not reciprocated their friendly gesture as one of its host communities.
The Ekpri Nsukara Offot Community alleged that the University had, under the cover of darkness on Monday, April 17, 2023, dispatched its Bulldozer to carry out wanton destruction of people’s properties in the village.
The statement read, “We are distressed that the authority of the University of Uyo has not respected the demarcated boundaries with Ekpri Nsukara Offot community. We say so based on the ugly experiences with the institution for some years now.
“A case at hand is that on Monday, April 17, 2023, at about 11 pm, the university moved into trespass on our land. The authority sent Bulldozer into the adjoining lands which belonged to our community to destroy fences and houses under construction, which are owned by individuals.
“We have approached the University through the Chief Security Officer (CSO) Mr Inyang Asuquo to enquire about the latest action but they disclaimed the action as not coming from the institution.
“However, credible intelligence has it that the Bulldozer used in the operation emanated from the institution and also exited through the main campus.
“We see such action as a deliberate attempt by the University to forcefully acquire our land despite the large acreage of land already voluntarily conceded to the institution.
“We recall a particular instance in 2020 where similar actions of encroachments were carried out and properties belonging to several persons were destroyed by the University.
“These despicable activities by the University of Uyo prompted our Community to institute a Court action in suit no. HU/337/2015 against them. Surprisingly, despite the pendency of the litigation in the Court, the University has not stopped its illegal acts of infringing on our lands.
The Community further recalled that some time ago, at the instance of the Akwa Ibom State Government, a reconciliatory meeting was convened with the authority of the University of Uyo and attended by eminent government officials and the Paramount Ruler of Uyo Local Government Area in attendance.
The meeting enjoined University and the Community to respect existing boundaries and that the University should not usurp powers by encroaching on our land.
The community lamented that “Regrettably, the authority of the University of Uyo seems not to respect the peace efforts made by the government. We note that such flagrant disposition by the University is capable of fuelling reprisal actions or outright crisis with its host community.”
The Ekpri Nsukara Offot Community appealed to Governor Udom Emmanuel to caution the University to desist from infringing on its land or destroying the properties of individuals in the adjoining lands owned by the community.
“We therefore appeal passionately to His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State to intervene and call the authority of the University of Uyo to order,” the Community said.
According to the community, they will resist any attempt by the University or its agents to forcefully annexing their village land.
Efforts to speak with the officials of the University of Uyo proved abortive at the time of this report.