Wednesday, 10 October 2012

UNIPORT STUDENTS BURN HOUSES AND CARS IN PROTEST

Angry students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday invaded Aluu community where four of their colleagues were killed on Friday.
By the time security operatives restored order to the troubled community, many houses and cars had been torched and about 30 students injured.
But the students’ action came with a cost: The UNIPORT authorities shut the 37-year-old institution indefinitely.
While the community boiled, the National Assembly condemned the UNIPORT and Mubi Polytechnic killings. The House of Representatives went a step further by summoning the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, over the rising  insecurity in the country.
Four second year undergraduates of UNIPORT – Biringa Lordson of Theatre Arts Department;  Ugonna  Obuzor of the Geology Department;   Mike  Toku of   Civil Engineering  Department;  and Tekema Erikena -were  lynched in Aluu for allegedly stealing a laptop computer and BlackBerry phone. The lynching was also videotaped.
Last week, gunmen had also invaded the off campus hostel of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi  with a hit list and butchered more than 40 students.
A source in  Choba  told our our correspondent in Rivers State that irate students who gathered under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students had barricaded the East-West Road, vowing not to leave until the UNIPORT Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, addressed them.
Some the students later moved to Aluu and began to set  houses and cars ablaze until security operatives came to disperse them.
The immediate past student union president, Mr. Rhino Owhorkire, said  that 30 students were injured during the incident that took place at about 4.30 pm.
Owhokire, who hails from  Aluu, stated that he tried to calm the students and stop them from going ahead to torch the buildings to no avail.
“I am from Aluu and I tried my best to calm them down and stop them from burning houses . The initial plan was for them to make bonfire on the road and not to burn houses,” he said.
  NANS Treasurer, South East and South-South, Mr. Iyere Onono, urged government to address the grievances of the students.
As the tension rose, the management of the university  ordered the immediate closure of the university to forestall the breakdown of law and order on the  campus.
Its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Williams Wodi, who spoke with The  PUNCH on the telephone, said,  “The University of Port Harcourt has been shut down indefinitely and students have been told to vacate their hostels until normalcy returns to the institution. We will reopen when normalcy returns.”

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