Thursday, June 13, 2013

Police Kill Three Students At University Of Uyo Over Transport Fare

Several sources have told SaharaReporters the Nigerian police in Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State, today shot dead three protesting students at the University of Uyo. One of our sources said he was certain only of one casualty, but the other said the figure was higher.

Several sources disclosed that the students were demonstrating against the introduction of transport fees.

Eyewitnesses said a peaceful procession on campus turned violent, leading to the burning down of the vice chancellor’s office located at Ikpa Road in Uyo.

“At least three students were shot and killed by the police,” said a student source. He added that the police contingent had been brought in to quell the uprising.

Unconfirmed reports said university officials have closed down the school indefinitely after the protests that turned violent.

An eyewitness told SaharaReporters that the protest was started by engineering students protesting the introduction of fares for the school bus shuttle. The school earlier moved the engineering faculty and the faculty of sciences from the town campus to the permanent site at Nsukara Offot. “The distance between the two locations is very far,” said the source. He added: “Before now the school provided buses that shuttled between the two campuses of the university, and the bus service was free to all students. Now this morning the students woke up to the announcement that a fee of 100 naira has been fixed for the bus services.”

Our source disclosed that the fares infuriated students who afterwards mobilized for a peaceful protest. He said the university officials then brought in policemen to break up the protest. Two of our sources accused the police of using excessive show of force against the unarmed protesters.

“They started firing teargas, and this made the students to respond by turning violent. The students started hurling whatever objects, they could lay their hands on at the police and blocked all the entrances and exits locations in the school,” said one of the sources.

The sources said the protesters were stunned that the police fired live ammunition at them. They said the irate students then burnt down the VC’s office, other nearby buildings and the school gate.

When SaharaReporters contacted the Akwa Ibom State Police Public Relation Officer, Effiong dickson by telephone he said the police contingent sent to quell the riot did not enter the campus but admitted that when the student came out on the street, there was a skirmish as police reportedly came under attack from students “wielding sticks and throwing stones”. The PPRO stated that there was no report of any killing from his colleagues engaged in the operation. However, he said he had heard rumors that one student was killed.

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