By Agnes Thomas
Fulani herdsmen encroaching on the land of the University of Ilorin and using it for various unlawful activities have been given a seven-day ultimatum to leave the land as their presence violates the laws of the University.
The ultimatum was handed down by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), during a meeting he held with representatives of the herdsmen and other stakeholders last Wednesday (April 26, 2017) at the University Auditorium Basement.
Also in attendance at the meeting were Principal Officers of the University, traditional rulers of surrounding communities, University security personnel, and other senior officials of the University.
Prof. Ambali explained that the meeting was called because the institution believes in dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Giving a background to the meeting, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Prof. Adedayo Abdulkareem, noted that several University farms were being destroyed by grazing cattle, adding that unlawful entrance into the University has also become very worrisome to the University administration.
Prof. Abdulkareem also frowned at the use of chemicals by the herdsmen for illegal fishing in the University waters, describing this as “a dangerous development that could lead to water poisoning as the University relies on the water for treatment and supply to the campus”.
The Vice-Chancellor said, “People are building permanent structures on our land. When we went round, we counted about 16 structures. We want to use these lands for the purpose for which the University was established, hence the need for this meeting”. He disclosed that the University had reached agreements with some foreign collaborators to develop the land for research purposes.
Prof. Ambali pointed out that the illegal activities by the herdsmen on the campus would affect the over 30,000 students in the University, calling on the herdsmen to be cooperative and help the University to achieve its mission.
The Vice-Chancellor told them that one of the reasons for establishing the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was to cater for the need of the herdsmen so that they would not have to be a source of conflicts in their communities.
“Your activities are affecting our research works. Plants grown for research works are being destroyed, slowing down the pace of research work. We must ensure we do not hinder and frustrate each other as we are members of the same society”, Prof. Ambali said.Some of the Fulani herdsmen, who spoke at the meeting, thanked the Vice-Chancellor for the mature way he handled the situation, promising to assist the University arrest any of their members trespassing on the land of the University.
They acknowledged the destruction of farms, assuring that they would leave whenever the University asks them to leave.
The Daudu of Fufu, Alhaji Baba Bello, who was present at the meeting, warned the herdsmen against the erection of permanent structures on the University land, decrying the destruction of farms by the nomads while cautioning against inviting strangers to join them.
Alhaji Bello called on the herdsmen to heed the call of the University to vacate the institution’s land within the time given.
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