The people of Offot Usung Ifiayong in Offot Clan in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of Offot Usung Ifiayong Unity Assembly, have petitioned the National Universities Commission, NUC , alleging unprovoked attacks on their community by Management of University of Uyo.
The community, which hosts the university permanent site located along Nwwniba, in communique made available to newsmen in Uyo raised a save-our-soul message to the General Secretary of NUC, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, appealing to him to call on the Management of the University of Uyo to put “an end to its series of harassments, intimidation, arrests, invasion and destruction of property in our community and on the disputed land while the matter is pending in court”.
The statement revealed that the host community feels threatened by the hostility shown them by the management University of Uyo, which has led to unprovoked and recurrent attacks on their community by its agents where they share a common boundary with the institution’s permanent site, along Nwaniba Road.
It cited ” the latest in the series of attacks and illegal destruction of property occurred in the night of Sunday May 24, 2020. Our people were woken up at 2am by sound of intense gunshots that continued for over an hour. The people were frightened and remained indoors fearing there was an armed robbery attack in the area. They were however shocked to discover in the morning that not less than 10 houses in the community had been demolished during a night raid by agents of the University aided by armed soldiers, despite the subsisting lockdown curfew in the state.
“This is one in several unprovoked attacks by the University of Uyo, ignoring many peace moves initiated by the State Government to find a lasting solution to the protracted land dispute between the community (ten Offot Ukwa villages) that donated their land to the authority of the institution.
“It is noteworthy that in February 15, 2015, the management of the University of Uyo led by Prof. Enefiok Essien authorized the University Chief Security Officer to attack our community. On that fateful day, 8 buildings at various stages of completion were reduced to rubbles. Youths of our community vis a vis entire youths of Offot Ukwa were seriously agitated but were restrained from seeking vengeance”.
The community further alleged that even when the matter was taken to court in Suit No. HU/337/2015 “the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Enefiok Essien, hurriedly got in touch with the Commissioner of Police, who in turn signalled the Police prosecutor already in court with the accused persons to withdraw. The Police promised to hold further dialogue with parties on the matter, but that was the end of it all”.
The community, therefore, asked the Commission to prevail in the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo, Professor Enefiok Essien, “to return to the negotiating table already established and set in motion by the Akwa Ibom State Government through its Secretary to State Government, Mr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, for the purpose of delineation of the boundaries between our community and the University so as to put an end to every form of hostility while installing lasting peace for needed development of our community”.
They also demanded that “the management of the University of Uyo prevailed upon to make retribution by paying adequate compensation to all the victims whose property at various stages of completion where destroyed in the February 15, 2015 and May 24, 2020 illegal demolition exercise which it authorized”.
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