Akpabio pledges new hostels for UNIUYO after violent protest

Governor Godswill Akpabio

Students of the University of Uyo protested the increase in transportation fare.

The Akwa Ibom state government will build and deliver two new hostels for the University of Uyo, the state governor, Godswil Akpabio said Sunday, days after students set a hostel and offices alight following the killing of at least one student by police during a protest.

The state government demanded full scale investigation into the circumstances that led to the crisis last week, during which several students were reportedly killed, while properties estimated at several millions of Naira were destroyed.

Mr. Akpabio, who made the call during a visit to the institution to assess the extent of destruction to the school property by irate students last week, described the act as “criminal, targeted and pre-meditated”.

The Vice Chancellor of the university, Comfort Ekpo, who took the governor round the scene of the incident in the company of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Paul Ekwere, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Okon Ansa, said the incident must be thoroughly investigated to ensure that the culprits be brought to book.

According to the governor, the students took their disagreement with the school authorities too far. He said that the targeted destruction of the school’s academic records was a pre-planned arrangement by some miscreants who pretended to be students of the institution in order to achieve some hidden motives.

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“This act is a disaster. It must be condemned by all well meaning Nigerians. My observation here is that the destruction of the buildings was targeted at the over 20-year-old school records and examination results,” he said.

While calling on the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident, the governor also asked President Goodluck Jonathan who is the visitor to the institution, and the Minister of Education to monitor closely the situation in the school and ensure that the relevant security agencies get to the root cause of the crisis.

On its part, the governor said the state government would build and hand over two hostel buildings to the university as soon as the school allocates a site for the project.

While briefing the governor on the circumstances that led to the crisis, the vice chancellor said that the school authority had constituted a committee to work out adequate transport arrangement that would facilitate the movement of students to the permanent site.

She said the committee had recommended that students would pay a new transport fare of N200 from the town campus to the permanent campus from N100 after the students in the committee had brought a transporter to the school authority for approval.

President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the university, Lucky Inyang, expressed regret that the peaceful protest by the students against increment in the transport fare by the university authorities resulted in the destruction of the school property. He blamed it on hoodlums who hijacked the protest, which was against the introduction of N2, 000 registration fees.

The students had also demanded the immediate sack of the Vice Chancellor, who they accused of complacency and consistent refusal to address issues affecting students’ welfare.

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