It was a traumatic experience for students of Aquatech College of Agriculture and Technology on Thursday, as Oyo State Government demolished some structures at the premises.
It was gathered the demolition was to “restore sanity to the land use management, urban and physical planning and development in Oyo”.
“Historically, this place was acquired by the government of western region for Adeoyo State Hospital, part of it is for GRA, and traditional owners were compensated duly.
“Successive administrations have sounded notes of warning, but people thought the government was joking, so we decided to move around today and act accordingly,” Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Mofoluke Adebiyi who led the team told newsmen.
She added; “We realised that some are practicing agriculture, which is very wrong in a GRA. They have birds and some animals in temporary structures, but we gave them 24 hours to vacate the birds and animals because they are living things”.
Some residents, according to Tribune, accused the State Government of being “insensitive” to their plights while calling on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to come to their rescue.
One of the residents, Ajiboye Damilola, said she was having her bath when the demolition started.
“I’m here for my SIWES (Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme). I was in the bathroom when I heard some noise outside. I had to rush out to check what the problem was. On getting outside, I saw excavators destroying our properties with no empathy, not minding whether we are indoor or not,” she disclosed.
Another resident who spoke based on anonymity said the exercise was a “show of envy” and “lack of support for education” urging the state government to make a redress.
School mgt reacts
The school registrar, Mr Kayode Babalola, who exclusively spoke to our reporter, said the demolition was carried out while students were on site despite “no prior notice before the exercise”.
“It’s so unfortunate to see Oyo State Government demolishing everything without any notice. We are about to finish our first semester and preparing for exams that was how we saw caterpillars entering the school premises.
“In fact, some of our students where in the library while the demolition started. It was only God that saved them,” he said.
On his part, Dr Victor Ayobami Omidiran, the Rector, described the incident as “beyond word”. He, however, acknowledged there was an eviction notice by the government but “there were issues on ground when it came”.
He also said the citadel of learning was the first private-owned Agriculture College in Nigeria adding that they have been on the issue for the past 18 years.
On next line of action, he said; “We’re still consulting on the necessary stakeholders in education and government sectors to seek a way out of this”.
The school rector also dismissed claim by the Permanent Secretary to Oyo State Government that the owner engages in leasing of government lands without approval saying “it’s a blatant lie”.
Aquatech College of Agriculture and Technology located at Educational zone, Aquatech bus stop, Fodacis area, off Adeoyo state hospital, Ring road, Ibadan, started its operation as a fish farm and consultancy outfit in the year 1998, then called Nazarene Fish Industries. The outfit later metamorphosed into training and resource center for fisheries enthusiasts and I.T students from various institutions.
A formidable practical platform was then put in place for its trainees. The outfit later sought approval for establishment of a Tertiary Institution to mount a programme on National Diploma in Agriculture in the year 2010 specializing in Fisheries Management.
The Institute was approved and listed on Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) portal for admission to various Agriculture programme in the year 2013.