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13 Feb 2018

Herdsmen destroy UNILORIN multi-million naira research farms

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, has raised the alarm over the destruction of the institution’s multi-million naira research and training farms by cattle belonging to unidentified herdsmen.

PUNCH correspondent gathered on Monday that, following the development, the management of the institution held a security meeting with the leaders of 11 Fulani settlements located on the institution’s land.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of law enforcement agencies comprising the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Security Services  and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

During the meeting, the vice-chancellor warned that the management of the university would no longer tolerate illegal grazing on its land.

Abdulkareem also ordered squatters who had started building permanent structures on the university’s land without approval from the management to vacate the university land in the interest of peace.

He said, “We have a multi-million naira programme that is currently at stake now because they (herders) have gone to the extent of uprooting tubers of cassava for their cattle to feed on. We cannot conduct any research or training on the farm again because each time we get to a point where their cattle can feed on it… they go back there and destroy it.”

The VC said the purpose of the meeting was to decide on a specific deadline for the herdsmen and other illegal settlers to vacate the property.

Recalling that the university, under his immediate predecessor, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, in 2017 granted a three-month extension window to the settlers on request, he said the herders violated the agreement and failed to comply with it.

Reacting to the development, the Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Usman Adamu, told the UNIILORIN authorities that the herdsmen destroying the university farm land were not living in the community.

He claimed that the Fulani had been living peacefully in the environment and had even helped in checking crimes, such as kidnappings, robberies, which hitherto occurred on the university campus.

Adamu asked for time to come up with an appropriate response on the matter by February 22, 2018.

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