Security operatives shoot Nigerian students protesting ‘illegal’ raid

SECURITY operatives at Kwara State University, Malete, fired gunshots and tear gas at students protesting an ‘illegal’ raid of their private hostels on Thursday, February 22.

The students were protesting against the alleged attempted arrest of their fellow students by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Thursday afternoon, just hours after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had raided the premises.

The raid, which led to the arrest of 48 students as confirmed by the commission, was carried out in the early hours of Tuesday, February 20, against a standing order by the EFCC chairman, Ola Olukoyede.


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The ICIR reported how Olukoyede ordered that sting operations at night be halted in all the commission commands.

Olukoyede, in November 2023, ordered that sting operations at night be stopped following the arrest of 70 students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, in a midnight raid on off-campus hostels.

Meanwhile, sources and viral videos showed that the commission arrested the students at night, causing many to flee far away from their residences due to the indiscriminate arrests.

This occurred despite ongoing examinations at the school.

Among the private hostels raided were Western and Safari, located outside the university campus at Malete in Moro Local Government Area of the state.    

While announcing their arrest, the EFCC stated that the 48 students were apprehended from various hideouts for offences related to internet fraud.

It was also noted that items recovered from the suspects included nine exotic cars, 24 laptops, and various brands of phones.

Consequently, on Thursday, sources disclosed that the students resisted another attempt by the NDLEA and police to arrest some students from the university, leading to a mass protest and burning of tyres on some roads leading to the institution.

The resistance from the students angered the security operatives and police officers stationed in the area, prompting them to start tear-gassing and shooting in the air to disperse the students.

According to sources, the confrontation between the students and security operatives, which began in the evening, lasted for a few hours and caused panic in the area.

The incident was further corroborated by videos from the scene, which are currently trending on social media.




     

     

    The ICIR also observed some videos in circulation indicating that some students were injured during the clash, with sources who spoke with our reporter noting that over five students were injured.

    Efforts to confirm the extent of the incident and obtain a response from the school students’ union regarding the development proved abortive, as the students’ union president, Soliu Kolapo Abdulkadir, claimed to be overwhelmed by the situation and declined to speak when filing this report.

    Meanwhile, the NDLEA denied allegations of its involvement in the uproar at the university, as stated in a post made on Friday, February 23rd.

    “Social media reports suggesting that NDLEA operatives were involved in a raid and arrest of some Kwara university students on Wednesday are outright falsehood and fake. Please disregard such. NDLEA was never involved in any such operation in Malete,” the post read.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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