Land encroachment: Kwara Poly Alumni demand political will from govt to reclaim land


By Kayode Abdulazeez, Ilorin

The Alumni Association of the Kwara State Polytechnic Worldwide has asked the state government to support the management of the institution in reclaiming its land encroached on by some private individuals.

The call was made during a stakeholder’s public gathering on how the institution would recover portions of its that had been occupied by some settlers around the institution communities.

The meeting facilitated by the Alumni group was held at the late Admiral Muhammed Lawal Hall, with management of the institution, representatives of state Geographic Information Science (GIS), government officials, settlers communities, tradnational leaders, Civil Society organizations, Student Unions, Youth groups, and media practitioners in attendance.

The participants were taken around the encroached part of the institution’s lands from Oke Aponle, Ara, Gatta, Boyi, Oke Ose, and Akuro Villages where different structures for residential and commercial purposes including a petroleum filling station were built and fully occupied.

Addressing the gathering, the protem president of the Alumni, Engineer Abu Salami, said a look at the two different definitions of encroachment and land grabbing has shown that “the groups pitching tent against our alma-mata has graduated from land encroachment to land grabbing.

“At this point, we are of the view that they are ready to use all means including threat, terrorism, sponsored court cases, and blackmailing to snatch the land they do not own.

“At this point, we challenge any of the claimants to provide any document authorizing the building of any of the structures on the land in dispute for which the Kwara State Government had already paid compensation to the original owners and we are ready to prove.

“We, the alumni and the students of this peace-loving and prestigious citadel of learning who have been quiet and patiently watching the unfolding scenario between these bandits and our Polytechnic management are now up to say enough is enough as far as this daylight robbery is concerned”.

The president of the alumni association, who said that the problem is part of which communities face all over the world as far as land matters are concerned, however, said that “in this case, the Kwara State Government who is the legal owner of the school and the Ilorin Emirate, who are the traditional aborigines and through whom the land was originally acquired, had not shown the political will to end the matter.

“Hence, part of the reason we are organizing this forum is to gear the three arms of government in Kwara State through our current Executive Governor and the llorin community through the apex Ilorin Socio-cultural and sociopolitical organization (llorin Emirates Descendants Progressive Union) to initiate the process of legally taking possession of its property and officially handing its ownership over to Kwara State Polytechnic thereby allowing peace to reign within the Polytechnic environment.

In reaction to the allegation of nonpayment of compensation to original owners of the landed properties, a Director of the state Geographic Information Service (GIS), Oluwafunke Olanrewaju, stated that there is a record of all the people it paid compensation to over 50 years ago with their signatures or thumbprints intact with the service.

She added “Most of the structures erected by the villagers on the polytechnic land don’t have titles. Incidentally, the Land Use Act of 1975 confers ownership of all lands to the government.”