The National Universities Commission, the Nigerian Police, as well as the council of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, are to investigate the killing of one of the university’s students during last Wednesday’s protest.
The NUC’s acting chairman, Inter-ministerial Committee on Campus Safety and Security, Prof. Adebisi Balogun, said this in Uyo on Monday while inspecting the destroyed facilities on the university’s campus.
Balogun condemned the death of the student, arguing that whatever might have happened was not enough reason to take the life of a student.
He said both the Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, and the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, were worried by the death of the student.
Okojie noted that the inter-ministerial committee was in Uyo for on-the-spot assessment of the destroyed facilities.
He said, “Whatever had happened or whatever should happen within the Nigerian university system among students and staff, there should not be loss of life. And that is why the Executive Secretary of NUC has sent us as an inter-ministerial committee.
“The Minister of Education was concerned about the loss of life of a student; they are the future human resources of this country – they are the future leaders of this country. Nobody should be happy about the loss of any single life, at all.
“This one is going to be investigated. We have come to look at the circumstance leading to the killing of the student and at the same time the university will provide more information, more investigation to ascertain the reasons, and know who is culpable for the killing of the student.
“We are still investigating, the police are still investigating, and the university has set up their own committee to investigate the matter. Definitely this is beyond just a N100 transportation fare.”
While inspecting the university’s property damaged during the fracas, Balogun said the destruction affected the offices of Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics; Planning, Vice Chancellor, Portal and the Exams and Records Department.
He explained that the fact that Exams and Records and the university’s portal offices were set ablaze hours after the VC office had been destroyed showed an indication that the process was an afterthought and a result of a well-conceived plan.
The VC, Prof. Comfort Ekpo, said the increase of the transport fare from N100 to N200 daily from town campus to the permanent site was based on agreement with students’ union leaders.
She said it was shocking to see the level of destruction carried out by the students on an issue that they had settled.
The VC, while conducting the team around the destroyed facilities, lamented that all efforts to pacify the protesting students failed as they were not ready to listen to any entreaties.
She said the protest was led by a small group of students. “They forcibly locked the gates of the university while shouting and disrupting activities and peace of the town and annex campuses.
“When it became apparent that most students were not interested in the demonstration, they proceeded to force their way into classrooms where lectures were taking place and disrupted ongoing lectures.
“They wreaked a lot of havoc within and outside the campuses, disrupting public movement and throwing stones at the police who had been stationed outside the campus to maintain peace.”
Meanwhile, the UNIUYO alumni association on Monday condemned the incident that led to the wanton destruction of life and property in the university.
At an extra-ordinary meeting of the association at Nsukara Ufot, Uyo, the institution’s main campus, it called for a probe into the incident.