In a distressing series of events, students and staff members of the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, Ondo State, have reportedly been subjected to a relentless wave of attacks and harassment by alleged land grabbers. The institution, known for its commitment to agricultural education and research, is grappling with an escalating situation that threatens the safety and well-being of its members, according to an information released by the Provost of college, Dr. Akinyemi Fadiyimu.
According to sources within the college, these incidents have intensified over recent months, leaving both students and faculty members in a state of anxiety. The land grabbers are allegedly attempting to forcefully encroach upon the college’s property, creating an atmosphere of tension and fear within the campus. Fadiyimu said, already, there was a pending case in court against the Federal Government-owned institution, noting that if the court ruled against the college, three quarters of the institution’s land would be gone. He stated further that “Our greatest threat here is the issue of land grabbing. Land grabbers want to forcefully encroach on our land. We are facing five litigation from people, who are trying to lay claim to this college. On several fronts, different persons are laying claim to our land. The issues are so serious.
“If per chance, we lose those cases, the land available for this college will be reduced by three quarter. Only one quarter will be left for us to operate”. The Provost added that the students of the college often face security issues due to attacks by the land grabbers. He said this was causing detraction for the institution, stressing the need to educate people that the institution required large mass of land to operate as an institution that deals in agriculture. “They (land grabbers) come in all the time to attack our staff and students. It is a lot of security risk for staff and students. The location of the college is attractive to land speculators. They should leave us alone to develop and be able to serve society”, he lamented.
The situation has prompted a wider conversation about the need for stronger legal mechanisms to protect educational institutions from such encroachments and security threats. Advocates are urging the government to review and enforce laws that safeguard campuses against land grabbers and other forms of external threats. Aside the land grabbing issue, Fadiyimu also decried the removal of Colleges of Education from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) beneficiaries, saying this had caused ‘serious infrastructural deficit for the institution’. As investigations by FarmingFarmersFarms continue, the college community and concerned citizens are hopeful that the situation would be resolved promptly by allowing it regain its rightful status, as a safe haven for learning and research in the field of agriculture.
“The future of countless students and the institution’s legacy are at stake, highlighting the urgency of addressing this pressing issue. There are a lot of developmental projects lacking in the institution. There is dearth of infrastructure. The FG has been shortchanging us since 2010. We were removed from benefitting from TETFund. In 2010, all colleges of education were exempted, but state universities are benefiting from it. State governments are not establishing college of agriculture because they will not have access to TETFund. When we are talking about food security and agricultural development, we have been trying to ensure we achieve technological advancement. We are critical stakeholders in agricultural development in this country”, he stated further.