ABUJA- The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja, Prof. Abdul- Rasheed Na’Allah revealed that bandits and kidnappers have taking over the campus.
While appealing to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) through its Department of Development Control to remove structures that constitute a threat to the campus because of the security challenge.
The Vice-Chancellor gave this revelation when he played host to the Director, Department of Development Control Murkta Galadima, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He lamented that any structure the university tries to build is being resisted and times they have to pay money to be able to raise such structures.
According to him; “One of our challenges which is at the highest level of priority is the encroachment of the university land which is also a national emergency
“The truth is that this university is in trouble right now because we have all sorts of people who are living in the campus, who are utilizing the land, who have no respect for the environment, it has even gone further than bandits are coming in and taking over lace both within staff residences and outside.
“We now have our students being attacked. We are living in fear because of the bandits. Some of the indigenes give land to them without really knowing them. Some don’t even ask for permission they just take over. Many times we have clashed.”
“We are taking this issue seriously, unfortunately, the alarm was raised before and there were efforts that were made but were abandoned. So they have taken it that nothing will happen so they have grown so comfortable.”
“We need FCT to work with us to the very end to get this campus safe.
I am happy that the Federal Government just allocated about N400 million to start the fencing of the university and between now and December we must start.”
He continued; “You can imagine when a Very important personality plane is flying over the campus. The elements we are talking about are faceless and you don’t know their capacity. “
“They are called non-state actors. If we fail to acts the future will never forgive us, this is serious and dangerous and that is why we are appealing to the Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Bello, to assist us. There are many houses that have been marked for demolition as far back as 2012 but nothing was done. Recently we visited an area called Kado and we discovered more structures are being built and new allocation is being given.”
The Vice-Chancellor lamented, “Whenever we want to construct any structure they attack us and many times we had to negotiate with them sometimes, they collect money from the University just to use the land of the university. I am tired of negotiating with bandits”.
He further stated that a university is a beautiful place and the governing board intends to turn the university into a tourist attraction but the problem of kidnapping and banditry is hindering the efforts.
More so, the Chief Security Officer of the school, Ibrahim Burga, collaborated what the Vice-Chancellor said, “Three female students were kidnapped in broad daylight. We have a security report that armed bandits and kidnappers camps are around the hills and security agencies have already been informed of this development”.
In his response, the Director, Department of Development Control Murkta Galadima said there is a need to follow due process in removing the structures.
According to him; “it is a topical issue, considering the size of the land and the number of squatters. We are talking from the Gwagwalada bridge to Soka bridge (over 11,800 acres of land) within the University of Abuja land. The rate of squatting, to encroachment, and invasion so all these things are beyond this office, it has to be done with FCT administration.
“We cannot just move in and demolish, we need to meet with the university, village Chiefs, Area Council Secretariat, and tell them these are the challenges. Resettlement will also come in. We have already started the process. The next line is to come up with an action plan.”
“What we will do first is to sensitize these villages and map out strategies of the date and time to remove the structures”, he added.