By; Mohammad Ibrahim & Amos Tauna, Kaduna.
The May 2011 White Paper committee set up by erstwhile late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa that looked into the issue of land dispute between Kaduna Polytechnic and Gbagyi Villa community and the amicably demarcated the boundary for the two parties may suffer a serious setback as the management of Kaduna Polytechnic is insisting on full take over of the entire 999.7 acres of land allegedly acquired and paid for.
Late Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa had intervened between the two parties in May 2011 when there was strong indication that there was likely breakdown of law and order, as a result, the matter was settled out of court and a White Paper committee inugurated that ensured the demarcation of Kaduna Polytechnic land by erecting a fence to keep away the Gbagyi Villa community.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna, Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr. Mohammed Bello Ibrahim, noted that the issue of the land in question had been a serious problem to both the institution and the Gbagyi Villa community.
The Rector took time to explain the polytechnic position on the land which he said they legally acquired in 1975. Engineer Muhammad said the institution dully paid compensation to the land owners before the land was transfered to it in 1976-77.
It could be recalled that members of the community last week protested against the state government planned demolition of houses situated on the land.
About 3000 structures are marked for demolition by the state government.
The Rector told newsmen at a news briefing on the issue that the total land belonging to the institute is over 1000 hectres.
He added that the institute will recover its total land encroached on by the community through legal means.
“When the land was acquired a total of 168,169.00 naira was paid as compensation in 1976-1977 to 158 people living there at that time. We pay compensation for all economic trees and farm lands before taken over the land.
“I think we started receiving reports of encroachment on the lands in 2009 and we reported the issue to Police, DSS and the state government before we resorted to taking the issue to court.
“We took the ownership of the land after due process. We have all facts and documents to show that the land legally belongs to us. . The question here is did we get the land legally? Yes. Was there compensation paid? Yes. Was the land encroached? Yes. So all we are asking is justice because the land is ours.
“We just want the world to know that our land is being encroached right before our eyes despite late Ibrahim Yakowa’s intervention when he was the governor of the state. I remembered the late governor intervened and we had an out of court settlement with the community in which a white paper was released with a condition that there should be no further encroachment from both parties.
“As I’m talking to you now the land has been encroached by some people in the community. We just want our land back because we have all documents and facts to claim the land,” he said.
The Rector therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene so as to protect the land from the community.
“It was while we were in court that late governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa intervened and sought for settlement out of court through the inauguration of the White Paper committee that later ensured the demarcation of the land between Kaduna Polytechnic and Gbagyi Villa community in 2011,” he explained.
After the demarcation, he observed that there had been further encroachment by the community on the Polytechnic land, a development the institution feared is a grand plan by the community to take over the whole land meant for the insitution.
“My appeal is for the President to intervene on this issue because we are a peace loving people and will want to continue living with the communities around us peacefully. But I will do everything possible within the law to protect the land,” he said.