The Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Professor Eyitayo Ogunbodede, on Monday, escaped being lynched in Ife community.
The Vice Chancellor of the University and some top management staff were attacked by some hoodlums on their way to inspect the university land said to have been annexed by the community.
It was gathered that some land grabbers were allegedly bent on taken some parts of the land belonging to the university for personal use.
The management of the institution and some members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), who were invited to visit the place were made to turn back by the fierce looking hoodlums
Though no life was lost, but the hoodlums were brandishing cutlasses and other dangerous weapons to scare away anybody coming their way.
They were shooting sporadically for several minutes in an attempt to chase the management team away.
Trouble started when the vice-chancellor’s move to led his team to the institution’s land that has been taken over by some Ife community and assess the occupation proved abortive as Ife youths went berserk and ordered every occupants of the vehicles in the vice chancellor’s entourage to remain in their vehicles or be killed.
Professor Ogunbodede described the incident as attack and promised that the matter would be settled in no distance time.
He said: “I don’t want to lose any of our students. We are short of accommodation for our students but it’s not worth the lives of our students.
“You can see that it is only God that saved us today. You can see the shooting and all sorts of things but we thank God that we all survived it.
“We will try as much as possible to continue to maintain peace because the university cannot continue to exist without the community. We will try as much as possible to continue to reach a perfect understanding with the community. We have been doing it. We have succeeded over many years and we will continue to do it.
“You can see that we are in a very serious situation as far as OAU land is concerned.
“We will try as much as possible to ensure that in doing this, we continue to maintain peace and harmony within the community.
“We have reached out to the federal government and they have given us a matching order. They are not interested in ceding an inch of the university land to anybody.
“The federal government has also given us a substantial amount of money to start the fencing. They are conscious of the fact that we have a council for the university. The council is also being conscious of the fact that we have maintained cordial relationships with the community and we will continue to maintain that relationship but not at the expense of the university land. We are not going to allow people to occupy the gazetted land without approval from the federal government. If the federal government decide to revise it, no problem. But, as far as that is still standing, it is going to be difficult for anybody to just cede out of the university land.”
“Ooni is aware and he has given us his words that he’s trying to ensure that sanity prevails and we all live in peace.”