Protests rock Ibadan

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4 policemen hospitalised, 7 others injured

From Oluseye Ojo and Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan

Two persons were shot and seven others injured in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, yesterday, when security personnel, angry workers, students and retired primary school teachers staged protests in different parts of the city.

The first protest was staged by students of the Federal College of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Apata, which eventually turned bloody.

The second protest took place at the University College Hospital (UCH), and the third protest was staged by retired primary school teachers in Oyo State.

At the end of it all, two lay prostrate after they hit by stray bullets.

Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, said about four policemen were injured and they have been hospitalised. He added that eight police vans were also damaged in the clash.

At the College of Agriculture, it was probably a show of force at the main entrance of the college where policemen foiled the attempt by students to open the institution for academic activities. The students had trooped out en masse and barricaded the Ibadan-Abeokuta Road in front of their school gate.

Daily Sun gathered that lecturers in the institution had been on strike for a long time, over a face-off with the management, and that the college was closed on August 22, 2016, by the management, following students’ unrest about the state of facilities on campus.

The students, after their recent meeting, reportedly resolved to stage the protest, with a view to forcing the management to open the college for academic activities.

Some students allegedly threw stones at the police, a development which was said to have forced the security agents to fire teargas to disperse the protesters. But, some people claimed policeman also shot sporadically into the air.

The students reportedly called for the removal of the Provost of the college, Dr. Babajide Adenekan, following a disagreement between Adenekan and members of the school’s academic and non-academic staff.

It was also gathered that policemen advanced into the campus of the college, to contain the students. In the process, seven students of the college purportedly sustained injury, while two staff of another federal school which shares compound with the college, Institute of Agriculture, Research and Training (IAR&T) were reportedly hit by stray bullets.

IAR&T Executive Director, Prof. Alabi Adediran, who confirmed the incident, told newsmen that some policemen entered the institute and molested some staff.

General Secretary of the Students’ Union Government of the College of Agriculture, Amusan Adedoyin, said students were on a peaceful protest before the police were invited to disrupt the exercise.

A lecturer in the school, said the issue had been on for more than one year.

She said: “There has been clashes between the provost and lecturers of. Some lecturers have been suspended and reinstated while some claimed their allowances were withheld by the provost illegally. The claims are many.

“But, this time around, the students were expressing grievance over the administrative style of the provost. They claimed that the style of the provost triggered several strikes and unnecessary delay in the school’s academic calendar. They also called for the removal of the provost.”

But, the police commissioner said five students were arrested for their involvement in the clash. “It has been an off and on situation. We have been on this for the past six months. We have met with the students’ union leaders and the school authorities trying to resolve the issue.

“We told the students that they should limit their union activities within the school because once you deprive others the use of public facility, you are against the law.

“On Monday, they blocked the main road during their protest and we sent police there but they became violent and attacked the policemen. Four policemen were injured and they are now in hospital.

“Eight police vans were destroyed too. We had to use force to push them back into the school.

“If you are students, it does not give you the liberty to break laws. Those who were arrested will be charged to court after due investigation.”

At the University College Hospital, security personnel shut down the hospital for three hours, over non-payment of their salaries for 11 months. The protesters locked the two gates of the hospital and prevented vehicles from entering the teaching hospital. The action paralysed activities within the hospital and the gridlock on Queen Elizabeth Road stretched from Total Garden to Mokola Roundabout.

The protest, however, delayed a road-walk slated for 8:30am till noon and also affected other activities lined up to flag-off the 60th anniversary of UCH. They opened the gate after the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Prof. Temitope Alonge, appealed to them.

Alonge told the protesters to exercise patience with the management as they would be paid. He also said the delay in the payment of their salaries was caused by delay in the allocation meant to pay officers from the Federal Government.

In a related development, retired primary school teachers in the state decried what they called ill-treatment by the current administration in the state, based on non-payment of their 17 to 56 months pension arrears.

The retired teachers converged on the secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Agodi, from where they moved round the streets to sensitise the public about their plight before they moved to the governor’s gffice, to deliver a protest letter.

Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners in the South West, Segun Abatan, accused Oyo State Government of insensitivity.

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