After 48 hours of intensive protest by students of Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun on Friday pledged to address the students demand in two weeks.
The students in their hundreds on Friday continued the protest they started on Thursday. The protest was peaceful until the students were dispersed by police officers who fired tear gas cannisters.
The students then resorted to violence and embarked on destruction of property in the town.
One of the property allegedly destroyed by the angry students was the office of a media consultancy firm,
Steppingstone Communications located.
Unperturbed by the actions of security officials, the students vowed to continue with their protests until the state government meets their two major demands of further reduction in school fees and implementation of the reduction from the current academic session.
Perhaps realising that the students were determined to continue with the protest, Governor Ibikunle Amosun agreed to meet them and asked them to converge at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, where he would address them.
Speaking with the students, led by the President of the Students Union Government, Olusegun Ifade, Mr. Amosun said he would address the issue within two weeks and would set up a committee to urgently look into their demands.
He asked the students to stop protesting on the streets when they have important issues to raise saying it does not portray them in a good light.
Mr. Amosun, who was accompanied by State Commissioner of Police and the Director of State Security Services, also donated a bus each to all state government owned tertiary institutions.
The student leader, Mr. Ifade, while addressing his colleagues, said he was sure their protests would yield good fruit.
“I can tell you that we are gradually getting there and we shall get there soon,” Mr. Ifade, who had condemned the attack on students by the police, said.
In response to the complaints and pictures circulated on social media of police brutality on the protesters, the Ogun State Police Command said it did not shoot or kill any of the students.
The police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, claimed the police resorted to tear gassing the students when the students started attacking security operatives and vandalizing vehicles and shops of innocent citizens.
“The attention of the Ogun State Police Command has been drawn to a rumour being circulated on social media that the police shot at protesting students of The Olabisi Onabanjo University Ago Iwoye Ogun
State, who had been on a protest in Abeokuta since Thursday 14th August, and killed four of them on Friday 15th August,” Mr. Adejobi stated.
“The Command wishes to state categorically that it’s not true. The police did manage the protest and were on ground with the students at the Governor’s Office Oke mosan Abeokuta in a peaceful manner”.
“Even the Commissioner of Police Ogun State, Ikemefuna Okoye, deployed some armed police men on guard at the school premises where the students slept on Thursday to provide adequate security for them.”
The police spokesperson did not comment on the students reportedly arrested during the protest, amidst reports that the students had been released.
The action of the police and the state government has been condemned by the opposition Labour Party in the state.
The Labour Party condemned what it described as the militarisation of the students protest.
In a statement signed by Mobolaji Odunuga, the Special Assistant to the State Party Chairman, the party said it is the fundamental right of students to hold peaceful protests.
It also condemned the attack and arrest of some of the students by police officers whom the party said acted on the instruction of the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
“It is bad for the government to sponsor students in the state against themselves which is an indication that the governor is biased and he is corrupting the mind of the students”, Mr. Odunuga said.
“This is the first time a democratic elected governor will unleash terror on protesting students in Ogun state and this shows the enormity of violence that is inherent in the personality of the governor as this has been part of his attitude.
“Human Right Activists and Parents should please rise up in defence of the students as this action of the government is an infringement on their rights,” Mr. Odunuga said.