The management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-ife, has accused some individuals of ‘criminally poisoning’ the institution’s dam.
The dam provides water to the OAU community of over 30,000 students and staff.
The management said as a result, the campus is endangered by the activity of those it described as land-grabbers. It claimed they forcefully gained access to the dam by overpowering the security official on duty, O.A Omotosho.
The university, which named one of the attackers as Idowu Ogunwusi (alias Dagunduro), claimed the group freely used dangerous weapons including guns, cutlasses and axes during the attack.
The university made the allegation in a petition addressed to the Commissioner of Police in Osun State and signed by its Vice-Chancellor, Eyitope Ogunbodede, a professor.
The petition, whuch was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, was also copied to the state director of security service and the area commander of Moore Area Command in Ile-ife.
The incident, the university claims, occurred at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3. It said those involved described themselves as members of a non-existent Great Ife Development Board.
The petition, which was entitled; “Complaint of Criminal Pollution of Opa Dam, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,” noted that the assailants gained access to the dam through a portion of the university land adjoining Parakin Area.
The petition reads in part; “I wish to formally make a complaint of criminal pollution of Opa Dam in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife by some murderous members of the Ife Community.
“On 3rd April 2019 at about 1500hours, a report of invasion and pollution of the University Dam by a group of people who claimed to be members of Great Ife Development Board was received by the Security Unit of the University. The group of people who were fully armed with guns, axes, cutlasses, e.t.c, invaded the lower level of O.A.U dam and polluted the water with chemicals which led to the death of several fishes and other aquatic animals. The report also indicated that these criminally minded individuals gained access into the dam through a portion of University land at Parakin area, Ile-Ife, where there had been several reports of land encroachment by some Ife indigenes.
“The suspected culprits threatened the University Security Operative manning the area, Mr. O. A. Omotosho, with guns and some other dangerous weapons. They however escaped on sighting reinforcement from the University Security Department. Fortunately, one of the ringleaders of the invaders, Mr. Idowu Ogunwusi, alias DAGUNDURO, was identified by the University Security men sent as reinforcement.”
According to the university, the affected dam is the only source of water supply to the entire OAU community with a population of more than 30,000 people.
It added; “The action of these people therefore poses serious danger to the health and lives of staff, students and other members of the university community.
“It is important to also mention that this is the first time in the entire history of the university that this murderous conduct will happen. The people gained unlawful access into the University Dam through a portion of University land adjoining Parakin Area in Ile-Ife. It will interest the Commissioner that the said land, although clearly gazetted as university land and on which the university had exercised ownership for decades without let or hindrance, was forcefully broken into by the same set of people earlier this year. As a law-abiding federal government agency, the university has refrained from engaging the trespassers in their brigandage. These individuals have threatened to kill anyone who dares to challenge their action. It is clear, from all indications, that the criminal poisoning of the university dam is a continuation and actualisation of their threat.
“Considering the far-reaching consequences of the action of these people to the lives of the members of the university community, and the attendant propensity to lead to the breach of the peace of the university, it is necessary to act swiftly to deal with this clear criminal conduct. The Commissioner would recall that students of the University resumed this week for the 2018/2019 academic session. I therefore urge you to use your good offices to apprehend the perpetrators of this dastardly act.”
When PREMIUM TIMES called the Public Relations Officer of the institution to confirm the authenticity of the petition, he confirmed it but queried how it leaked.
He said the matter had been handed over to the police and that appropriate steps had been taken to avert outbreak of water-related diseases on the campus.
Efforts to speak to Moses Olafare, the spokesperson to the Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi, were unsuccessful as several calls made to his phone were unanswered and both SMS and Whatsapp messages sent to him were yet to be replied as at the time of filing this report.
Similarly, the Police Public Relations Officer in Osun State, Folasade Odoro, said she was on a week-leave when our reporter called her on the matter. She, however, promised to send the contact details of her subordinate who is acting as the police spokesperson. She was yet to do so as at the time of this report.