Reporter : CHINAZO ILECHUKWU
An Imo state-based Socio-cultural organization, Orluzurumee Youth Assembly, says it has instituted a legal action to pursue the return of Eastern Palm University constructed by the last administration to the state government.
Addressing a World Press Conference in Owerri, the Chairman Education Committee of the Group, Mr. Christian Okolie, alleged that the project, which was approved and executed as a second state owned university, metamorphosed into a public private partnership venture at the twilight of Chief Rochas Okorocha’s administration.
He alleged that the law establishing the University was hurriedly amended by the then government, which bestowed ninety percent share of the Institution to a foundation owned by the former Governor.
Mr. Okolie said efforts by the Orluzurume Youth Assembly to get the present administration in the state to recover the property yielded no result as the government was busy moving towards establishing another state university. He insisted that the action if allowed would set a dangerous precedence as those trusted with public office would have leverage to convert public assets to private use.
The National President of the Group, Dr. Sylvester Anyikwa, said the Assembly received numerous petitions from owners of the land where the university was built over alleged nonpayment of compensation by the government before acquiring the land, which they used for agricultural purposes.
He explained that the people never gave their land for a public private venture rather it was for a state government owned institution. The school, which started as Imo-European University and later changed to Eastern Palm University, is yet to take off years after completion leaving infrastructure in the university to dilapidate.