FThe Federal Government has approved the sum of N400 million for the building of a perimeter fence around the University of Abuja.
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul- Rasheed Na’Allah, disclosed this while appealing to the Federal Government to protect the University from bandits who were allegedly said to be encroaching on its land and trying to take it over.
A statement by the Head, Information and University Relations, Dr. Habib Yakoob, today said Professor Na’Allah made the appeal when he hosted the Director, Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Territory, Murkta Galadima, on the campus of the University.
Prof. Na’Allah said the advancement by the bandits and rising erection of illegal structures were not only preventing his administration from carrying out its developmental projects on campus but causing security threats to students and staff. In his words he said: “The truth is that this great University of ours is in trouble right now. I say this because we have all sorts of people who are living on the campus, who are using the land without respect for the environment. It is worse now because bandits are coming in and taking over land both within staff residences and outside.
“Our students are being attacked; we are living in fear of the bandits. Some of the indigenes give land to these bandits without really knowing them, some don’t even ask for permission they just take over. I can tell you that on many occasions, we have had clashes.
“They are called non-state actors. If we fail to act the future will never forgive us, this is serious and dangerous and that is why we are appealing to the Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello, to assist us.”
The VC lamented the insistent demand for money by the “these people who encroach on our land” whenever the University attempted to use its land for developmental projects and also said that several years of tolerating the invasion into the University land had emboldened the bandits whom he said now felt they could take over peoples land with impunity.
He however appealed to the government as he said, “We need FCT to work with us to the very end to get this campus safe.”
He appreciated the Federal Government for approving about N400 million to enable the University to begin erecting a fence, and assured that his administration would embark on the project between now and December.
In his lamentation, the VC said “Whenever we want to construct any structure they attack us and many times we had to negotiate with them sometimes, they collect money from the University just to use the land of the university. I am tired of negotiating with bandits.”
In his response to the VC’s call, Murkta Galadima said there was a need to follow due process in removing the structures as stated:
“The rate of squatting, to encroachment and invasion so all these things are beyond this office, it has to be done with FCT administration. We shall meet with the university, village chiefs, Area Council Secretariat and tell them these are the challenges. Resettlement will also come in. We have already started the process. The next line is to come up with an action plan.
“What we will do first is to sensitise these villages and map out strategies of the date and time to remove the structures.”