Three shot as police, students clash in Ondo

Bonfire made by the students

Bonfire made by the students

A wild rage swept the ancient town of Owo in Ondo State at the weekend as three students of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic (RUGIPO), Owo, were shot during a heated argument between some policemen and the students.

These led to an unfettered public disturbance in the town as vehicles numbering over 10 were vandalised by the angry students and scores of residents brutally attacked with varying degrees of injuries.

The Guardian gathered that the crisis broke out when a private car, belonging to a police officer allegedly hit two students and abandoned them before speeding off.

This infuriated the students, and in a solidarity march, moved en masse to the Division B Police at Otapete, protesting the injustice and dehumanisation meted out on their colleagues by the police.

A source, who spoke to our correspondent, said they were dispersed with tear gas shot sporadically into the air. In the ensuing melee, three students were hit with canisters and bullets.

This further infuriated the students as they allegedly destroyed vehicles parked inside the station and blocked the Owo-Akure Expressway, which is opposite their school, causing severe traffic gridlock.

Eyewitnesses revealed that students were spotted making bonfires at the main gate of their school, Fasawe and White House areas in the town, which are mainly occupied by students.

The police swung into action three hours later by stationing an armoured tank to clear the main road and push the rampaging students back to campus.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph, alleged that the students attacked the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Akande, who is presently in a critical condition.

Joseph said the students worsened the situation by attacking police officers, who were on duty when they stormed the station and vandalised the vehicles parked inside, after the DPO had made efforts to pacify them.

‎The Polytechnic Information Protocol and Public Relations Unit (IPPPR), Mr. Olumide Olugosi, said no student died during the protest but disclosed that one of the injured students has been referred to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ife, Osun State, for further treatments.

Olugosi added that two other students that sustained gunshot injuries are stable and are receiving treatments at Federal Medical Centre, (FMC) Owo.

The Vice President (Affairs) of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Timileyin Ayenuro, called for the immediate removal of the Police Division B DPO.

He accused the DPO of fueling the crisis saying what the students were expecting from them was an apology over the matter since they did not know the present state of their colleagues. He also called for the immediate release of the arrested students.

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