By VINCENT Ufuoma
THE Niger State Police Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Danila, has assured the people of the state that peace has been restored to the community where students of the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUTMinna) and truck drivers clashed.
He said, on Saturday, that law enforcement officers were drafted immediately to prevent the escalation of the fight and, through the intervention of the deputy governor, Ahmed Mohammed Ketso, and the Commissioner of Police, they have resolved all the issues between both parties.
“The anti-riot Police and other law enforcement officials earlier drafted on 26/09/2019 contained the situation against escalation,” he wrote in an emailed response to this reporter.
“The fracas was resolved amicably in the early hours of Friday, 27th September, 2019 through the intervention of the deputy governor of Niger State and Heads of Security Agencies led by the Commissioner of Police Niger State Command, CP Adamu Usman who promptly visited the scene for on-spot assessment, met with warring parties, resolved their differences and restored normalcy through dialogue.”
Danila added that, however, “Some Police and other law enforcement officials are still stationed in front of the University to beef up the security of the school while some are patrolling student off-campus accommodations and the entire environs to forestall resurgence of the fracas. Everyone is going about his lawful businesses without any apprehension.”
Several persons were left injured on Thursday following an altercation between tanker drivers and students of FUTMinna.
A tanker collided with a van conveying some students to a political rally of one Bello Abubakar who is vying for the Student Union Government’s social director office. Many students were injured.
According to City Round, “At least three cars and many motorcycles were burnt while the mayhem reportedly paralysed academic activities”.
The driver of the truck that collided with the students’ van was reported to have fled, causing aggrieved students to protest and block the federal highway.
Kabir Okegbenro, the director of Media and Communication, National Association of University students in Nigeria told this reporter on Friday that the students were looking for the driver when they discovered tanker drivers in the town had gone to mobilise with some thugs to fight with them.
He said: “The students protested and attempted to get the driver which made them block the federal highway where the incident occurred. It was quite unfortunate that the truck drivers and other hoodlums put calls to themselves and mobilise themselves with full force to the school gate to attack students.”
Kabir told this reporter the tanker drivers launched another attack on the students the following day, leaving several people injured and hospitalised.
“As of today the tanker drivers are attempting to attack the students who wish to enter the school and they injured some students but who are all responding to treatment including postgraduate schools,” he said.
He accused men of the Nigerian Police in Minna of beating and harassing some of the students.
In a separate interview, the Students Union President, Fajoye Ayodeji confirmed that one of their students was hit by a tanker belonging to A.A. Rano. He said the situation was further aggravated when the driver told the students at the scene of the accident that he will clear and kill all of them if they should stand on the road.
“A tanker belonging to A.A. Rano hit some students in the front of our school gate. One of them who was severely injured was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment,” he said.
“The whole thing got escalated when the tanker’s driver to the angry students that he will run over and kill all of them if they should stand on his way. In protest, the students blocked the federal highway.”
Corroborating Okegbenro’s narrative, the SUG President said the tanker drivers mobilised themselves to the school gate with cutlasses, knives, and sticks the following day to beat up students, leaving many with sustained injuries.
He also accused the police who came of intimidating students by firing gunshots and teargas canister on the air and at the students.
He confirmed that normalcy has since been restored through the interventions of the deputy governor and the state’s commissioner of police.