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Host communities, KWARAPOLY at war: ‘We paid host villages compensations in 1974’ – Institution

...It's a lie; show documents, names - villagers

Wole Adedeji, Ilorin

The Management of the Kwara State Polytechnic (KWARAPOLY), at the weekend, said the state government, in 1974, paid compensations to land owners on which the institution was built.





The institution said it paid the natives who were the host communities for the land and that a total number of 122 of them were paid.





Speaking for the school at a press conference, in Ilorin, the state capital, The Director of Student Services, Surveyor Abubakar Aremu said the families were adequately compensated as at July 6, 1974, adding that the families had since then been asked to move out of the land.




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He also disclosed that even then, over 1,000 hectares of land had been encroached upon out of a total land space of 4,500 hectares acquired by government to build the institution appealing to the government to at this point build a perimeter fencing for the land he claimed was acquired in 1973.





Surveyor Aremu said that construction of developmental projects and erection of other structures had been made hard by the effects of the encroachment activities of the villagers saying threats, intimidation and litigation by the villagers had served as stumbling blocks against the plan of the school to establish a School of Agriculture.





He boasted that the school would not be deterred. His words, “Meanwhile, we’ll not be deterred by campaign of calumny or litigation by people already compensated. Kwara poly extends to Oyun river Bridge, Oloru, Oke Ose, Dangiwa. So, anyone occupying those areas are occupying KWARAPOLY land”.





The Nigerian Xpress had reported last week (Wednesday, March 13,2024) that trouble was looming between the Polytechnic and its adjoining host communities over its land accusing them (the communities) of encroaching on the land.




However, the villagers, in their reactions described the position of the polytechnic as stated by the Students’ Director as a ‘blatant lie’ saying, the school should, for once, make public the ‘valid’ documents of the claimed acquisition as well as the list of those who were paid in 1974 and their respective villages.


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According to a member of the neighbouring village to Gatta who pleaded with with this reporter for anonimity , “the issue had been a subject of disagreement and controversies over the years and it had always been that the school would claim that there was a document to back its claim which was never made available on each occasion.





“The style had always been the same which they use to bamboozle our illiterate parents who could be easily be cajoled with the paper that the innocent people did not understand telling them it was a government paper that covers an area of 21 kilometer sqaure for the institution.





“Often, it was when it got to the point of presenting the paper for scrutiny and wanting to know who signed for these communities at the time of acquisition that the school would not be forthcoming again.




“Worse still, they had not allowed us to know who these people (the 122) that collected compensations for their towns were so so that we can verify the genuineness of their claims.





“The school enjoys an unhindered access to the media to deceive the unsuspecting members of the public each time they want to further oppress the innocent and powerless villagers like they are doing now. I pity Gatta people who are the current victims of oppression.




“One day our God, our ancestors who bequeath unto us these our ancestral lands will send helpers to all of us because we are powerless”.





Also speaking, Imam Abdulkareem Ayinde, the 135-year-old patriach of Gatta community, believed to be the oldest man in all the communities, said there was never a time they had an agreement on their lands with the government nor was there an event where they were invited to be paid for their lands.


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The centenarian, who spoke through his grandson, an Inspector of Police, Mr. Saheed Abdulkareem said, “Iam the oldest man today in this area. I challenge any government man to come and tell me when and where told us that our land had been taken for this school and that we were paid off and asked to vaccate our ancestral home where we had been for over 300 years.





“Our great grandfathers founded this place as hunters. The same is the case of other villages here. They chose to stay close to each other because of the security at the time so that they could jointly ward off invaders.





“What they told us was that they were bringing a school that would take civilisation close to us. They never told us they were taking our land from us and chase us away from our ancestral home was only in 1976 that we had reason to had cause to discuss with government in the palace of the then Emir of Ilorin, His Eminence, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, May Allah grant him sweet Aljannat.





“The school came to build Quarter ‘C’ on our land and my children then told me. We met them and said no. They went to the Emir who invited us to the palace with the government people. He pleaded with us to allow them build that one since they had started and warned them not to go beyond that point and we both in honour of his majesty agreed to his request.





“They (the school) had since then kept to the agreement. I am surprised that they are now going outside the agreement to dishonour the Emir? Is it because he had passed on? We were never invited by government to surrender our land and be paid off ever since”.