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FG threatens to relocate Fed. Uni. of Tech., Owerri, other institutions

Valentine Chinyem

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The Federal government has threatened to relocate the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) and other federal institutions over continued attacks by the host communities.

Government said the decision became necessary because of non appreciation and value for the facilities, some of which, brought federal presence to the host communities, with unprecedented economic gains.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono, disclosed the information in Abuja, on Thursday, when he hosted a delegation from FUTO, that brought the challenges of the institution to him.

He said: “We have received several correspondence in this regard and we have reached a point of possible relocation of FUTO, alongside other Federal government institutions from the host communities that continued to be hostile to the facilities.

“We have quite a number of Federal government institutions including Federal Government Colleges (FGCs) otherwise known as unity school, that have similar problem. We have received several correspondence to that effect and a decision on that will taken soon.

“We will identify and relocate such institutions to states that are willing to accept, appreciate and own them. These facilities are developmental projects that could revive the economy of any host community and place it on global map.

“Undoubtedly, the economic impact of FUTO in Owerri and its environs is enormous. Nevertheless, a situation where government will acquire land, pay compensation to genuine owners, and someone appears years after to encroach on the land is unhealthy.

“We have realised that, in some cases, both state government officials and traditional institutions are accomplice in this act of land encroachment. They issue Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for a land that already being covered by a subsisting C of O.

“Howbeit, the government will reopen the avenue for dialogue with the new governor of the state, Emeka Ihedioha, and I am optimistic that things will turn out for good. But we will erect perimeter fences to stop further encroachment on the land.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Prof. John Offem, in his remarks, appealed to the permanent secretary, to see to the restoration of some delisted academic programmes in the School of Management and Management Technology.

He said that for three consecutive academic sessions, FUTO has been denied the admission of fresh students to six programmes namely Maritime Management Technology, Project Management Technology, Transport Management Technology, Financial Management Technology and Management Technology on the premise that the programmes were not included in the mandate of the university.