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OGHARA – Aggrieved protesting communal land owners in Oghara early Monday, September 19, 2022 forcefully barricaded the main gate of the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State over the alleged government’s encroachment on their land located behind the teaching hospital.

Findings revealed that the blockade resulted in preventing vehicular movement in and out of the hospital complex by workers and patients for several hours.

It was gathered that as early as 8 o’clock in the morning, the protesters comprising mainly youths and some landlords in the community had converged at the main gate of the teaching hospital carrying assorted placards just as they sang solidarity songs in condemnation of the purported take over of their land by the authorities, without compensation.

One of the protesters who would not want his name in print, while speaking with journalists, stated that “the affected community, by this protest, is only taking proactive measures against the government, over our genuine fear that the authorities may, at the end of the day, renege on the agreed terms for utilizing the communal land”.

The source noted that the owners of the landed properties located behind DELSUTH resorted to staging the protest following rumours that the government had already concluded arrangements to move in to commence construction work for a private school.

The spokesman added, “so, the landlords held an emergency meeting on Sunday where we resolved on protesting so that government should deem it fit to redeem its pledge to compensate us before taking over our land for the planned nursery school”.

However, the teaching hospital’s main gate was eventually flung open to the public by the protesters at about noon the same day following appeals by the management of the institution who also called for an emergency dialogue with the stakeholders comprising representatives of the protesting community leaders.

Speaking at the end of the closed-door meeting of the teaching hospital management with the aggrieved community leaders, Mr. Iteme Emmanuel, Public Relations Officer of DELSUTH said that “the management is on top of the matter. We held a fruitful meeting with stakeholders on this issue to address their fears.”

Iteme added, “the State Commissioner for Lands and Survey has been informed about the protest and they are working round the clock to ensure that the agitation is resolved amicably”.