- A community in Akwa Ibom state is crying out for justice
- Members of the community say they are being intimidated by the management of the University of Uyo
- The community have sent a save-our-soul message to the National Universities Commission to intervene in the impasse
Members of a community in Akwa Ibom state have petitioned the National Universities Commission (NUC), alleging unprovoked attacks on their people by the management of the University of Uyo.
The community, Offot Usung Ifiayong in Offot clan in Uyo local government area of Akwa Ibom state wrote the petition under the aegis of Offot Usung Ifiayong Unity Assembly led by a former Speaker, Uyo Legislative Assembly, Obong Tony Asikpo.
The community which hosts the university permanent site located along Nwaniba road in the state capital, in a communique made available to journalists, called on the general secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, to call the management of UNIUYO to order.
They specifically asked the NUC boss to “put an end to its series of harassments, intimidation, arrests, invasion and destruction of property in our community and on the disputed land while the matter is pending in court.”
According to the communique, the host community feels threatened by the hostility shown them by the management of the university, which they said has led to unprovoked and recurrent attacks on their community by agents of UNIUYO.
Legit.ng gathered that the university's permanent site and the community share a common boundary.
Part of the communique read: “The latest in the series of attacks and illegal destruction of property occurred in the night of Sunday, May 24, 2020. Our people were woken up at 2 am by the sound of intense gunshots that continued for over an hour.
“The people were frightened and remained indoors fearing there was an armed robbery attack in the area.
“They were however shocked to discover in the morning that not less than 10 houses in the community had been demolished during a night raid by agents of the University aided by armed soldiers, despite the subsisting lockdown curfew in the state.
“This is one in several unprovoked attacks by the University of Uyo, ignoring many peace moves initiated by the State Government to find a lasting solution to the protracted land dispute between the community (ten Offot Ukwa villages) that donated their land to the authority of the institution.”
The community, therefore, asked the NUC to prevail on the Vice-Chancellor of University of Uyo, Professor Enefiok Essien, to return to the negotiating table already established and set in motion by the Akwa Ibom state government through its secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ekuwem.
They also demanded that the management of the University of Uyo make retribution by paying adequate compensation to all the victims whose property at various stages of completion where destroyed.
Among those who signed the communique is a former chairman of Uyo local government area; Honourable Maurice Edet, prominent lawyer; Barrister Ubong Sylvanus Okon and respected clergymen; Pastors Anieke Edet Asuquo, Dan Urua and Andy Enang.