Scores of students of Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, went on the rampage, on Thursday, over alleged incessant robbery attacks on school hostels within and outside the campus.
Two policemen and a student were injured while several vehicles were burnt during the protest, which lasted for about six hours. A student was allegedly cut with a machete on the head during the protest.
Our correspondent, who visited the scene, saw no fewer than seven vehicles that were set ablaze.
A police post at Osiele and another vehicle parked on the premises, as well as six other vehicles along the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road were set ablaze.
Also, the church, allegedly headed by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, Divine Heights Bible Church, Kotopo, along the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road, was also vandalised by the students while the windshields and wing mirrors of four vehicles on the premises were shattered.
PUNCH Metro learnt the students’ protest followed an attack by armed robbers on Adejoke Hostel in Isolu community in the early hours of Wednesday. The hostel is some distance away from the school.
It was gathered that the incident infuriated the students who claimed they had been left to their fate by the institution’s management.
The protest, which started as early as 6am, paralysed academic and administrative activities in the institution, causing gridlock along the Abeokuta-Ibadan Road.
Many students and workers of the institution were stranded at different bus stops.
Our correspondent learnt that the protest had been peaceful until a police team arrived at the scene. The students allegedly confronted the cops, leading to the riot.
A 100-level student of Forestry and Wildlife, identified as Taiwo Abisoye, was hit by a tear gas canister allegedly fired by a policeman.
The Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Students, Ogun State chapter, Dotun Opaleye, said Abisoye was responding to treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Idi Aba, Abeokuta.
The Ogun State acting Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the policemen drafted to the scene of the incident addressed the students for almost three hours.
He said the policemen had to fire tear gas canisters to disperse the protesting students and hoodlums who had joined them, adding that 34 suspects had been arrested.
“We never shot at any student. We only fired tear gas canisters to disperse the hoodlums who had hijacked the peaceful protest. We have arrested 34 suspects, many of them were artisans.
“Nobody was killed. Some were injured. One student and two policemen were injured. The student was hit on his head by a stone thrown by his colleagues. The same students injured the two policemen.”
Tension gripped residents of the school’s environs but the deployment of riot policemen, men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, brought the situation under control.
Men of the Ogun State Fire Service were also on the ground to put out the fire in the cars set ablaze by the students.
Meanwhile, the institution’s management has directed that all the students of the institution should embark on a seven-day break to enable it to put in place proper security arrangement for staff and students.
A statement issued by the institution’s Head, Directorate of Public Relations, Mrs. Emi Alawode, said the break was with immediate effect.
The statement read in part, “This is to enable the university to put additional welfare and security arrangements in place in order to further support the initiatives of the federal and state governments, towards the protection of lives and property of citizens, particularly, the members of staff and students of the university.”of lives and properties of its citizens, particularly, members of staff and students of the university.”