Posted by Osteen Oyibode, Asaba | 20 June 2015 | 9,542 times
A heavy protest rocked the Metallurgical Training Institute (MTI) Onitsha, Anambra State on Thursday.
Students of the institute were angry over poor hostel accommodation and rejection of the school’s Diploma Certificate by other federal government institutions, among other grievances.
Trouble started on Wednesday when some graduates of the school who had gone to Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun, Warri, Delta State, to further their studies were rejected by the institute and allegedly chased out by some security agents attached to the school over the excuse that MTI Diploma Certificate was not recognised by Petroleum Training Institute, which is also a Federal Government owned institution.
The rejected students were said to have communicated some of their colleagues who are still studying at MTI that they were wasting their time as the Diploma Certificate from the school which is under the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power was not recognised outside the school on graduation.
The situation was said to have angered the students who quickly organised themselves and delegated the Students’ Union Executives and some of the best minds to approach the Director of the school, Mr. I. I. Okonkwo.
On reaching the Director’s office on Wednesday, the delegation of students was reportedly turned back by the school boss who was also accused of not showing enough sympathy to the plight of the students.
Apparently feeling humiliated over the director’s shocking behaviour, the students were said to have as early as 8 o’clock Thursday morning mobilised themselves and vandalised some of the school property which included, the gadgets, such as Plasma TV sets and Computer sets.
On realising the nature of the protest, the director reportedly ran into his office with some members of senior staff of the school in a bid to escape the students’ wrath.
One of the students, a 200 level Welding and fabrication Department, who didn’t want her name in print, told our correspondent that the students’ grievances were many and accused the director of showing no sign of addressing them.
She stated that the hostel accommodation provided by the school was crowded for the students but the institute kept on admitting more students.
Another student, Henry Imafidon, a 300 level student of Mechanical Engineering Department, said that most of the machineries used for the practical work which is about 80% of the school curriculum were either obsolete or no longer functional. He accused the institute’s management of turning a deaf ear to their plight.
The timely arrival of the police from several police Divisions from Okpoko, Awada and Obosi with the supervision of the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma prevented the situation from degenerating further.
Before the arrival of the police, the students had, however, succeeded in blocking the ever busy Onitsha/Owerri Express Road with bonfire and singing solidarity songs.
The police, while attempting to scare away the students, allegedly shot and wounded four of the students. The victims were reportedly rushed to a nearby hospital, and one of them is believed to be in critical condition.
About 15 vehicles belonging to the school and some of the staff had their windscreens shattered by the protesting students.
In a telephone interview, the Director, Mr. I. I. Okonkwo refused to speak, claiming that he was not authorised to speak to the press.
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