The Old Students Association of Federal Government College, Malali, Kaduna, have appealed to the President, Muhammadu Buhari, to put an end to the encroachment of their alma mater.
The association also pointed accusing fingers at officials of the state government for pulling down the perimeter fence of the college to gain entry and begin appropriating parcels of land to themselves and their cronies for building projects.
Making the plea at a briefing in Lagos on Monday, April 24th, the old students, drawn from various parts of the country, said if the situation was not checked, Federal Unity Colleges in the country would be destroyed and dreams of the founding fathers of the learning institutions would be aborted.
Speaking on behalf of the old students, President of the association, Mr Seyi Gambo, accused top government officials and politicians of trying to carve fiefdoms for themselves by taking over the school’s land.
“I was a student there in the early 1980s and Malali was then a village. Now, the place has become a highbrow area, just like what Lekki in Lagos was over 40 years ago and what it is now.
”They started this move in 2015, but on February 12, 2015, the Director, Basic and Secondary Education Department, Federal Ministry of Education, in a letter, titled “Re: Illegal access at the South-Western fence of Federal Government College, Malali, Kaduna,” emphatically rejected the attempt to excise any land in the school by Kaduna State government.
“The Kaduna State government persisted, coming up with another angle and the principal of the college said such an act would endanger the lives of students; the boundaries would be too close to the science laboratories; the athletic tracks and sporting facilities would be subsumed; and students would be exposed to abduction and the Federal Ministry of Education agreed with the submission by saying no to the idea.
“As a follow up to that, a stop work order on carve-outs in public institutions was published in the Daily Trust newspaper of Thursday, July 9, 2015.
”We thought at last there would be respite from the Kaduna State government, but that was not to last. On April 17, 2023, the state government through the Ministry of Urban Planning and Development, KASUPDA, wrote a letter to the principal of our school about the excision of unutilized land along the stretch of River Kaduna for security reasons.
“This is land they have been trying to acquire since 2015. The letter was just a pretence because immediately the letter was sent, bulldozers were moved to site, plots of land allotted to people and building of structures going on 24 hours daily.
“Our main question is, why did they send their letter to the principal, who is an employee of the Federal Ministry of Education and not wait for response from the ministry before starting anything?. The Land Use Act is clear on how land belonging to the Federal Government is to be treated.
“The Act says ‘Nothing in this Act shall affect any title to land, whether developed or undeveloped, held by the Federal Government or any agency of the Federal Government at the commencement of this Act and, accordingly, any such land shall continue to vest in the Federal Government or the agency concerned,” he said.
Gambo noted that if those trespassing on the school land should go scot free, it would embolden others to do the same and Federal Unity Colleges would no longer be safe from intruders.
He added that the old students were already rallying round to invest billions of naira to upgrade facilities in the school, including setting up a centre of information technology with the hosting of a SISCO training lab that would help in the certification of graduates of the school.