The attorney to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) host communities and renowned Estate Surveyor, Chief Sam Anokam has called on Governor Hope Uzodinma to use his good offices to prevail on the management of the university to sign the Federal government-backed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the host communities and FUTO, observing that the refusal of the university to obey the directives of the Federal government regarding land excision to the host communities is the root of the problems between the university and her host communities.
Chief Anokam made this call during a briefing with newsmen in Owerri in which he reacted to newspaper publications on Governor Uzodinma’s visit to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) where the governor promised to recover all lands belonging to FUTO, as well as demolish all illegal structures in them.
He welcomed the idea of the governor to demolish all illegal structures on those lands, describing it as “acceptable to us, in order”.
Chief Anokam maintained that he had no sympathy with illegal developers who had decided to jettison due process on land matters and gone ahead to erect illegal structures.
However, the Attorney to the host communities stressed that he was not comfortable with the governor’s promise to recover all FUTO lands, wondering whether it was recovery to FUTO or to the host communities.
He noted that the issue of land between FUTO and the host communities had been settled by the Federal government and the university given their portion following the recommendations of a technical committee set up by the Federal government on FUTO-host communities land issues.
Chief Anokam informed that there is an MOU between FUTO and the host communities which the university, in flagrant disobedience to the Federal government, has refused to sign, while the host communities had fulfilled their own part by signing the document.
According to him, if the governor had been duely informed, he would have known that the Federal government that owns the land in perpetuity had considered everything and excised a substantial area back to them but FUTO had been acting in disobedience to federal government directives.
He accused the university’s management of working to deceive the governor by not telling him the truth about the land in question because they are acting in disobedience to the Federal government directives, regretting that by so doing, the university’s management was deliberately trying to set Governor Uzodinma on collision course with the Federal government which owns the land in perpetuity and has the sole right to make decisions pertaining to it and not the state government.
The issue now, according to Chief Anokam, is whether the Imo State government is going to overrule the Federal government, decide and “recover” what the Federal government had already given out.
Citing section 512 of the Land Use Act, the Attorney to the host communities noted that the state government has no right or power over the land, having giving it to the Federal government in perpetuity.
He stressed that Imo government authority is only on town planning of which the host communities do not question the issue of demolition of illegal structures, adding that the title to the land and excision plan are still with the Federal government.
Anokam said that what Governor Uzodinma could do now was to facilitate the excision by prevailing on FUTO to stop being in disobedience to the Federal government directives and reprimand the FUTO management for trying to put him on collision course with the Federal government.
He also advised Governor Uzodinma to beware of a group parading a “phantom” public private partnership (PPP) plan with the former vice Chancellor, which, the Attorney said, might have informed why the former vice Chancellor had refused to sign the MOU with the host communities.
Chief Anokam described those people as land grabbers eager to take advantage of the governor’s magnanimity for their selfish interest.