– Commends Uzodinma on achievements

The Attorney to  the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) host communities and Owerri based Estate Surveyor and valuer Chief Sam Anokam has called on the management of FUTO to take lawful actions regarding the matter while urging Imo State government and management of FUTO to cooperate with the Federal government for settlement of the land dispute. He stated this last week at a press conference in Owerri, the State capital. 

Speaking at the conference, Chief Sam Anokam said he has always ensured that he follows due process and has never at any point in time adopted any strategy rather than due process which is the legitimate approach to realize their objective. 

According to him, FUTO had always failed to abide by the Federal government directives in settling the matter amicably but rather opts to follow unlawful approaches to intimidate the host communities and their Attorney. Recently, the Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunji Raji Fashola (SAN) said he will set up a broad expanded interministerial Committee which will comprise the FUTO host communities, Imo State government, governing council of FUTO,  National Universities Commission (NUC), Ministry of Education, Director of State Security(DSS) and National Police Force (NPF) to further look at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which has been prepared on the matter, and look at any derailed areas in the matter, fine tune them as to resolve the conflict. But as at the time of this press conference, other bodies have sent in their nominees except FUTO and the State government this has stalled the inauguration of the committee pending their cooperation with the directives of the Federal government. 

He therefore advised Imo State government and FUTO that if they want peace between FUTO and it’s host communities and if their intention is not to intimidate and appropriate their land unlawfully, they should bring the list of their nominees and let us trash everything on the round table in Abuja and have a decision on it.

Chief Anokam averred that the matter is beyond the capacity of the State government alone, “its a National matter which has gone to the National Assembly, Attorney General of the Federation and the  Inspector General of Police. It  is not a matter to be disregarded, but a matter which we expect the leadership of FUTO and the State to take serious. We  cannot not be confrontational about it that they will send the soldiers to start killing our youths, no, but we will tackle it with the best approach that they will be surprised, because we can take it to the authorities within the federation to come and see injustice that has been melted on a group of people over their land”.

Continuing, Chief Anokam pointed out that, “there is a Land Use Act in which the properties within the confine of the State is vested on the governor but in trust for the people.  And section 36 recognizes their interest in the land prior to the land use act, and what is required in dealing with such people is negotiation. But if you do not consider it appropriate to negotiate but act with impunity, the people will rise up and resist intimidation.

He lamented that FUTO is leasing some part of the land within Port-Harcourt Road to miners, and they have started digging some areas at Avu which has caused a very big gully, that is destroying the land and causing environmental problems. All efforts made to stop them proved abortive. He noted that when two young men from Umuoma Nekede accosted and confronted them, they were arrested and kept at Anti-Kidnapping cell for two weeks. “Even I, as Attorney to FUTO host communities, I am like someone who is hounded, I have been reported to DSS, I have a petition personally signed by the FUTO Vice Chancellor that I attempted to kidnap and kill her, I am also standing a case of destroying their fence and threat to violence,  I dare FUTO that if you have a stronger position to this matter, come forward and present it, don’t come with your frivolous petitions and reasons. All I am saying is FUTO should take a lawful action on this matter and let us end all this conflict”. 

He referred to the publication of the traditional rulers of the communities disassociating themselves from him as a statement made under threat of removal of their staffs of office after a thorough investigation. He also refuted the erroneous impression that by these agitations, he is against the present administration. 

“I am not anti-government and cannot be anti-government, Governor Hope Uzodinma is my friend, we were in PDP together, he left PDP to APC to achieve his objectives as the governor of the State, I also left PDP and joined him in APC. I certainly cannot work against him,  I have been an associate and close ally with him in fighting injustice and I cannot stop fighting injustice now, that is my mold, I am rather on the side of the people”. 

 Chief Anokam also commended the governor on the provision of infrastructure and the ongoing solid road constructions in the State. He also encouraged him to execute his plans on health and renovation of the health facilities in the rural areas. He as well urged him to look into abandoned structures by the former administration in all LGAs to put them to proper use to avoid being dens for thieves and hoodlums. 

He suggested that the deputy governor be properly engaged in our agricultural sector as the former minister of agriculture to make Imo State a food basket of the South East. 

He also encouraged the governor to appropriately fund our educational sector to ensure that our universities run full course and are registered and accredited for students to pass out from it and become useful to the society. While urging him to work hard to make his administration acceptable to the people and refrain from fighting opposition which will slow him down.

Finally, he encouraged the governor to tackle the security challenges in the state and as well handle the FUTO and it’s host communities matter peacefully as to avoid insecurity crisis that may emanate from it while they are trying to fight to protect their heritage which was illegally acquired.  “I believe that His Excellency, the Minister in his wisdom in setting up this broad committee brought in Police and DSS is to ensure that no security problem will arise in the course of the report of the committee and their movements.