Wednesday 26 November 2014

University of Jos shut as security operatives shoot 8 protesting students

The University of Jos has been closed down after a protest by students over hike in fees turned bloody, with security officials called in to restore order shooting at least eight students.

A statement, Tuesday, by the University Registrar Jully Dandam, after a hurriedly convened management meeting, said the institution would remain shut “till further notice”.

The statement ordered all students to vacate campus before 2 p.m. on Tuesday as a way of halting the violence and stopping the crisis from spreading to other parts of the state.

The protest by the students, which began on Monday, deteriorated on the second day, with security operatives firing at students.

Witnesses said as the protest continued, a soldier attached to the Special Taskforce on Jos crisis (STF) opened fire on protesters at the Bauchi Road campus of the university, shooting several of them, including a blind student.

However, a spokesperson for the Special Taskforce (STF), Ikedichi Iweha, a Captain, in a telephone interview, said only four students had gunshot wounds, but denied that they were not shot by soldiers.

According to him, the bullets used in shooting the students were not the type the Special Taskforce uses.

He suggested the shooting could have been done by other sister security agencies deployed to the scene of the protest.

Mr. Iweha also claimed that the wounds on the students were minor, and that they were treated at the Task Force’s clinic and discharged.

The STF spokesman claimed the protesting students injured five soldiers who tried to disperse them.

The students had on Monday began protesting increments in development levy of N10,000 for all students, and acceptance fee of N25,000 for freshers.

The protest continued on Tuesday with students barricading the Bauchi Road campus and hindering free flow of traffic.

The protest by the students heightened tension within the Plateau State capital, Jos, as businesses around Bauchi Road, Faringada, part of Katako, Nasarawa Gwom as well as Terminus Market closed early, fearing the protest might turn violent.

Credit: Andrew Ajijah/PremiumTimes

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