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ALVAN IKOKU STAFF PROTEST IMO GOVT'S ACQUISITION OF COLLEGE LAND

By NBF News
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Academic and economic activities at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education (AIFCE), Owerri were yesterday paralyzed as staff of the college abandoned their duty post and took to the streets demonstrating over alleged forceful acquisition of college land by the Imo State Government.

The angry staff also registered their protest over the state government's inability to conclude plans for the full takeover of the college by the Federal Government since 2007, alleging that it (state government ) had failed to map out the actual delineation of the boundary of the college.

The protesting workers, numbering over 300, comprising academic and non -academic staff led by their union leader, marched across River Nwaorie from the school premises chanting solidarity songs carrying palm fronts and placards of different sizes and inscriptions.

Some of their placards read: ' Our pensioners are dying, perfect our handover to the Federal Government .' 'We need expansion of Alvan's land for university status not depletion.' 'All we are saying, leave our land.'

When the drivers of the seven bulldozers that were clearing the site along Onitsha road sighted the protesting workers, they fled into the bush abandoning their equipment.

The aggrieved workers later marched to the Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri where they lodged the complains to the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Revd Anthony Obinna.

Speaking, the Chairman of College of Education Academic Staff Union (CEASU) AIFCE chapter, Bede Onwuagbaoke saidboth the management and unions of the college had severally sort audience with the state government over the full takeover of the college by the Federal Government but all in vain.

He said the existing unions in the school would resist any attempt from any quarter to frustrate Federal Government's plans to raise the college to a university status.

According to him, the state government's current forceful encroachment on college's land for other purpose than expansion of AIFCE would mean doom for the college as its land mass would be drastically affected.

Addressing the protesting crowd, Archbishop Obinna said the state government could not afford to remain silent on good governance , assuring them the matters would be amicably resolved.