FUTO, community’s land dispute deepens
Firm accuses Imo govt of lease infraction
The disagreement between authorities of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) and the host communities over 4,500 hectares of land acquired by the institution has deepened leading to a peaceful protest by the communities.
The host community has through its attorney, Chief Sam Anoka, insisted that the FUTO authorities must stop the alleged dredging of water in front axis that is disputing the area.
Anoka faulted the agreement on the land acquired by the institution in 1982, maintaining that the institution only paid compensation for about 1,300 hectares to the host communities, 36 years after acquisition. He also accused the institution of failing to honour the request from the Federal Ministry of Mines, Power and Housing, to come to terms to demarcate the boundaries of the land areas.Anoka, also stated that the institution was encroaching to the human settlement areas of the host communities.
But the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Francis Eze, dismissed the issues raised by Anoka, alleging that the host communities had been unfair to the institution.He also accused them of encroachment, insisting that the communities were excavating sand on the areas around the bridge.
Eze, stressed that it would take much money to reclaim the damage caused by the communities on the land.He alleged that unknown persons in connivance with the host communities were buying some portions and erecting structures on them.
Meanwhile, the Director of Quest Resources Consults Limited, Daniel Kanu, has threatened to sue Imo state government for allegedly violating lease agreement on Heroes’ Square entered into in 2012.Kanu, who is claiming about N630 million as a result of the alleged infraction, alleged that the state government was denying his company access to the property located along Concorde Hotels, without prior official communication.
According to him, Quest Resources has paid the sum of N20 million which was part of the agreement which would run for 35 years, lamenting that five years after the deal, the state government under the watch of Governor Rochas Okorocha was yet to honour the agreement.He said: ‘’The lease agreement was executed in 2012 under the Okorocha government and the agreement was signed by the commissioner for Lands, Mr. Uche Nwosu on behalf of the government and the lease agreement was N20 million. It has an annual ground rent fee of N1 million while Quest Resources Consults Limited will maintain the facilities at its own cost. The lease is for 35 years and in the last five years we have not been able to exercise our rights at all.
The company’s chief executive threatened to take legal action to enforce its right, regretting that the company had incurred debt and repaying loans’ interests in the banks.Efforts to reach the state Commissioner for Tourism, Dr. Cyril Okafor, could not yield fruits as he was said to be away on official duties.A source closed to the government who preferred anonymity debunked the allegation, saying they were untrue.‘’He must get his facts clear and not just making wild allegations,” he said.
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