By Ogala Emmanuel, 12 June 2013
Police shot and killed at least one student of the University of Uyo Wednesday as a demonstration by students over insufficient lecture venues and campus transit buses transportation system turned violent, witnesses said.
Some residents of the area said three students may have died after police fired live ammunitions into a crowd of protesting students. But the witnesses said they were certain of one casualty. Police authorities in Uyo could not be immediately reached for comments.
A school spokesperson, Godfrey Essien, said he was on leave and was piecing details of what actually happened.
Residents say the students, mainly of Science and Engineering faculties, went on rampage for several hours on Wednesday in protest of poor transportation system for students after authorities ordered the relocation of the Science faculty from the school’s temporary site along Ikpa Road to the permanent site at Nsukara Offot.
The new site lacks enough infrastructures to accommodate the relocating Science students, and the Engineering students who had moved in earlier, leading to frequent confrontations.
The Engineering students are said to occasionally bar the Science students from using the limited lecture rooms and school shuttles between the old and new campuses, about 10 kilometers apart.
N200 per day bus
The transfer of the Science students merely compounded the hardship already faced by students on the permanent site, situated along the road leading to the city’s new airport.
The tipping point for the students, according to residents, came after the Science students were ordered to pay N200 per day to use the campus shuttle buses, against the N1, 000 paid per semester by the Engineering students for the same service.
“The students just said they cannot have that again and they blocked the roads and everywhere,” the resident said.
Earlier reports said police fired tear gas at hundreds of students who barricaded the school’s entrances after forcing out security personnel.
A witness who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the students refused to leave their line as the hours wore on, insisting on being addressed by the school’s Vice Chancellor before dispersing.
After the police attack, furious students set the Vice Chancellor’s office alight, alongside the school’s security post and a hostel block.
The police attack came months after a similar incident Nasarawa state university where students were shot and killed allegedly by security forces drafted to quell a protest over lack of water.
No one has been punished for the Nasarawa killings months after, and no report has been delivered on an investigation ordered by the state government.
Nigeria: UNIUYO Shut as Four Students Die in Protest
By Tony Nyong, 12 June 2013
Uyo — THE University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State was, Wednesday, closed down indefinitely as four students were reportedly killed during violent encounter with the Police.
The students it was revealed had embarked on peaceful protest on the campus over the introduction of a new fare regime for the engineering and science students from the town campus to permanent site when the police arrived and allegedly opened fire that claimed lives of the students..
Following the killing of the students, some buildings on the town campus were burnt down last night. These included the office of the Vice Chancellor and that of the Registrar.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Comfort Ekpo, was said to have travelled to Abuja on official engagement when the incident occurred.
Some Principal Officers of the University were reported to have been rescued from their hideouts through the use of ambulance escorted by the Peace on Campus Initiative of the University.
When Vanguard visited the university, students were seen rushing out from the campus with their bags and valuable items as they were ordered to vacate their hostels immediately.
Sources said trouble escalated when the students broke the rule to move their protest outside the school premises. They reportedly met a stiff resistance from security operatives at the Ikot Ekpene-Ikpa road round about.
In the violent confrontation, the police were said to have moved in with about15 Hilux vans fully loaded with armed police. They reportedly opened fired and threw tear gas cannisters on the students which resulted in the death of the four students.
The school athourity, it was gathered recently announced a new fare of N200 per day to convey students from the town campus to the permanent site with effect from yesterday through private consultancy arrangment.
Some of the students who spoke with Vanguard said they were not comfortable with some of polices being implementation in the school. A final year law student who didn’t want his name in print said the police came in during the peaceful protest to shoot sporadically which led to the death of the students. He said: “We were not armed but police came with all sorts of ammunition in a peaceful protest embarked upon by the students.”
A 300 level engineering student lamented the increase in fare which he said was not adequately communicated to the students. He noted: “Even the vehicles were not even available when the school authority began to harass students over payment. The matter is that we do not want this VC any more. Federal Government should look for a more competent hand to govern the affairs of the school.
“How can we pay N200 for the Federal Government intervention vehicle? It is not done. We are not going to accept this.”
The Chief Security Officer, Col. Nyong (rtd) who was chased out from the campus admitted that school management brought in a private consultant to handle student transportation from the town campus to the permanent site but at the rate of N100.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) ASP Etim Dickson confirmed the riot in the University and denied knowledge of the death of any student. According to him, the situation is not clear as to what is going on in the campus as the police are not allowed to enter inside the school.
He added: “We are outside to prevent escalation of the protest. We are aware of the demonstration, but we don’t have authorization to enter campus.”