UYO – Angry students of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Akwa Ibom State, Monday staged a mass protest over the invasion of the institution by unknown gunmen.
The incident, according to an eye witness happened between the midnight of Sunday and lasted for 2 hours
Students preparing for semester examinations were said to be burning the late night candles at the Onyema Ugochukwu Hall, the CBN Hall and adjoining classrooms, when the incident occurred. “It is always our tradition to do conference reading within the campus starting from late night till the early morning hours especially during examination time like this”, one of the victims who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard.
“We were still reading, when we heard a loud voice commanding us to lie face-down or get killed, so we had to obey to save our lives. They immediately went for our laptops, phones and other personal belongings including petty cash and jewelleries”, the female student added.
At the adjoining Annex campus, the gunmen, it was learnt invaded the female hostels and carted away laptops, phones and cash. Some of the girls, according to campus sources, were forcefully raped; especially those who could not hurriedly put on their clothes at the time of the sudden invasion.
The protesting students, who complained about the porous security situation on the campus, recalled that such ugly incidents had been a recurring on the campus. Called on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Enefiok Essien, to improve security on the campus, the protesting students decried the porous internal security mechanisms on the campus, saying “such situation exposes students to danger”.
It was gathered from authoritative source that Police personnel are not allowed on the campus because of past experiences where the Police were called in to quell students protest, but ended up shooting students to death during the era of the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Prof. Comfort Ekpo. “Even the internal security personnel are not allowed to carry arms”, a senior management staff of the institution explained, and blamed the collapsing security system on the campus to inadequate personnel to man the school.
Worried by the development, the management of the institution shelved the examination Monday to enable the students shake-off the fears and be in the right frame of mind for the examination. Confirming the incident, the Director in the Directorate of Information at UNIUYO, Mr. Godfrey Essien, said the postponement would also allowed management the time to analyze the incident with a view to devising the best strategy to stop further occurrence.
He said management has been doing it utmost to address security challenges in the school, assuring that adequate security arrangement would be in place to safeguard the lives and properties of students and the university community.