CONSEQUENT upon the ongoing land litigation at the Appeal Court, the Provost of Federal College of Agriculture, Akure (FECA), Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina, has appealed to all parties involved to await the decision of the higher court.
Odedina reiterated this on Monday after he bagged the 2017 Pacesetter in Education for African Renaissance and Leadership (PEARL) Award from African Stride International in Akure.
It will be recalled that Justice Adegboyega Adebusoye, in a Suit No: AK/279/2012 at the High Court of Justice, Akure, delivered a judgment that dispossessed FECA more than half of its land mass.
The suit was instituted against the Federal Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Agriculture, FECA and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice as defendants.
He lamented that the former court verdict which gave more than half of the college land to some individuals would not only affect the innovations achieved so far to revolutionize agriculture, but would also lead to the extinction of FECA.
This, he added, would adversely affect the innovation by the college on value chain curriculum that was just approved by National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) for colleges, polytechnics and other institutions offering agricultural courses.
Odedina, who assumed office in 2015, disclosed that the school still had over 1,000 hectares of land when he was still FECA students in 1984, lamenting that the court verdict had drastically reduced the land mass.
The Provost noted that the land judgment was unappealed by his predecessors, saying “I met 375ha from 1000 gazetted. Court now awarded almost half of the 375ha to certain individual. That is what we are contesting.”
He listed the affected areas of the land to include the two dams, guest house, provost house, coffee and cocoa plantations, just to mention a few.
“The current management instituted an appeal process immediately I assumed office, and the current status is that the case is now safely in the Appeal Court with injunction pending appeal and stay of execution pending appeal.”
Nonetheless, he lauded the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh and the Ondo State governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) on behalf of the management, staff and students for their timely intervention.
“We started this litigation about two years ago, this is the first time a sitting governor, Minister of Agriculture, alongside top government functionaries and the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, will intervene in the land matters.”
Odedina said that their intervention had put an end to the recurrent land grabbing incident, attacks and destruction of government properties on the campus which included the Provost’s lodge, guest house, two dams, coffee plantations to mention few.
He disclosed that the people concerned signed an undertaking with the Commissioner for Police to stop destructions; and wait for the judgement at the Appeal Court.
“This effective intervention is the first of its kind in the last two and half years since the wave of destruction started,” he said.
FECA alumni association decried the incessant encroachment on the land of the institution by some individuals, saying it poises a great threat to the survival of the college.
The National President, Prof. Samuel Ogunrinde, who led a delegation of the association and management to the palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo recently, said the activities of the landgrabbers are undermining the progress of FECA.
According to him, the alumni is making efforts to position the college at the international level to have similar standard with their foreign counterparts.
Ogunrinde, who graduated from the college 50 years ago, said “We are moving ahead with the foreign frontiers but back home, there are no support from home as the institution is faced with constant landgrabbing and destruction of crops.”
Meanwhile, the Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo decried the 2012 court verdict, urging stakeholders to expedite actions on saving the college from gradually ebbing into extinction.
According to him, the Federal Government has marginalized Akure indigenes in respect of appointments and other benefits. He stressed that “We only have FUTA and FECA, they must be jealously protected,” declaring that the kingdom would resist any threat against the college.
He condemned the actions of the landgrabbers, especially the Olugele of Igele, a traditional ruler under Akure Kingdom, emphasizing that he would institute a legal action against him.
The paramount ruler, Deji, noted that it was Akure Kingdom that allocated land to FECA and Olugele as his subject, affirming that a fight to claim the land by the subordinate is an insult on the stool of the Deji.
“We have to do everything in our capacity to ensure the growth and development of the college. I will forever support FECA,” he said, urging the management to report any further encroachment to the palace for the prosecution of the culprits.