By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
The Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede has declared that the institution will not cede any of its gazetted land to anybody.
Ogunbodede who said the institution has Federal Government backing stated that the institution will continue to maintain cordial relationship with its community but not at the expense of the university land.
Speaking with journalists at the university campus after some hoodlums attacked the management of the institution and journalists who were invited to visit the gazetted land, the VC said: “We have reached out to the Federal Government and they have given us a matching order. They are not interested in ceding an inch of the university land to anybody.
“You can see that it is only God that saved us today. You can see the shooting and all sorts of things but we thank God that we all survived it. You can see that we are in a very serious situation as far as OAU land is concerned.
“We will try as much as possible to continue to maintain peace because the university cannot continue to exist without the community. We will try as much as possible to continue to reach a perfect understanding with the community. We have been doing it. We have succeeded over many years and we will continue to do it.
” We have hostels at the land which has been completed over the last two and half years but we have not been able to occupy that hostels. I don’t want to lose anybody or any of our students. We are terribly short of accommodation for our students but it’s not worth the lives of our students.
“We will try as much as possible to continue to maintain peace and harmony within the community.
“The Federal Government has also given us a substantial amount of money to start the fencing. They are conscious of the fact that we have a council for the university. The council is also being conscious of the fact that we have maintained cordial relationships with the community and we will continue to maintain that relationship but not at the expense of the university land.
“We are not going to allow people to occupy the gazetted land without approval from the federal government. If the federal government decide to revise it, no problem. But, as far as that is still standing, it is going to be difficult for anybody to just cede out of the university land.”
Asked if the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II is aware of the dispute, Ogunbodede said the monarch is aware and that he has given the institution his words that he will try to ensure that sanity prevails and all live in peace.