Posted by News Express | 14 June 2013 | 4,646 times
Governor Godswill Akpabio has called for the setting up of an investigation panel to probe the riot that erupted in the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) in Akwa Ibom resulting in loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of naira.
Students of the UNIUYO Engineering Department had on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration to the Office of the Vice Chancellor protesting against hike in transport fare from the institution’s town campus to the permanent campus at Nwaniba. The protest however turned awry: At least two students were feared dead, the offices of the Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor were torched while the security post and several cars were vandalised.
Besides, the university’s Examinations and Records Department that kept academic records especially transcripts of students who graduated from the defunct College of Education, Uyo, defunct University of Cross River State (UNICROSS) and the present UNIUYO as well as results of Unified Matriculation Tertiary Examination (UMTE) of students were set ablaze.
Governor Akpabio, who visited UNIUYO yesterday, was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Comfort Ekpo, in the company of Deputy Vice Chancelllor (Academic), Prof. Paul Ekwere and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Okon Ansa.
Chief Akpabio described the riot as criminal, targeted and pre-meditated. He observed that the miscreants took undue advantage of the disagreement between the school authority and the students to destroy the school’s academic records and policies. The governor said it was a pre-planned arrangement by the miscreants who hide under the guise as students of the institution.
His words: “This act is a disaster. My observation here is that the destruction of the buildings was targeted at the 20-year-old school records and examination results. It was a pre-planned arrangement by miscreants, who are ‘professional students’ using the opportunity of the peaceful protest to raze down buildings where the school’s academic records were kept.”
Akpabio called on the Nigerian police to carry out a thorough investigation into the case, and suggested the involvement of the Visitor to the institution (President Goodluck Jonathan) and the Minister of Education (Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai) in getting to the root cause of the matter.
The State Chief Executive sympathised with UNIUYO for the sad incident, and pledged the state government’s readiness to build and hand over two hostels to the university as soon as the school allocates a site for the project.
Also speaking, Prof. Ekpo, who was flanked by the university’s Registrar, Mrs. Edak Umondak and the school’s Chief Librarian, Professor Felicia Etim, said that the school had set up a committee and the members discussed and agreed with one another on the payment of new transport fare by the students.
The Vice Chancellor further explained that the school decided to increase the transport fare from N100 to N200 from the town campus to the permanent campus after the students in the committee had brought a transporter to the school authority for approval. She wondered why the disagreement by the students should lead to the riot.
On their part, the President of UNIUYO Students’ Union Government (SUG), Lucky Imo Inyang, and the Vice President of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Ubon Marcus, regretted the incident. They blamed it on miscreants who hijacked the peaceful demonstration by the students.
•Photo shows Governor Akpabio.
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