Police/Students clash: 3 students shot, vehicles destroyed in Owo

ABOUT three students of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic, Owo (RUGIPO), Ondo State, were allegedly shot while several others were also injured on Sunday during a clash between the students and men of the state police command in Owo.

Also, no fewer than 10 vehicles were vandalised during the fracas, which broke out between the students and men of the Police Force in the ancient town on Sunday morning.

It was gathered that the students went on rampage after a Police Officer who allegedly hit two students of the institution within the town ran away, abandoning the seriously injured students to their fate.

According to an eye witness, who explained that some of the students took the injured victims to the nearest hospital for treatment, while the students mobilised themselves and headed to the B Division of the Police station at Otapete in Owo, protesting against the treatment against their colleagues by the police officer.

He however said the students were dispersed by the policemen on duty with teargas while three of the students were alleged to have been hit with bullets.

He said “the police shot sporadically into the air and three of the students were badly hit with the bullets. This angered the students who regrouped themselves and started destroying the vehicles parked within the premises of the station after taken the injured students to the hospital.”

The protesting students, who blocked all the major roads leading to the town also blocked the Akure/Owo expressway, causing traffic gridlock on the ever busy road for over three hours and threatened not to vacate the roads until the police command produce the officer who shot the three students.

The eye witness however said it took the intervention of the policemen from the state capital, Akure, to disperse the protesting students and cleared the road to allow easy flow of traffic saying “the police had to station their Armoured Personnel Carrier at the entrance of the school for peace to reign in the area.”

Confirming the development, the Polytechnic Information Protocol and Public Relations Unit (IPPPR)! Olumide Olugosi, said some of the students were shot and injured during the clash saying no death was recorded during the protest.

He explained that one of the injured students has been referred to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, in Ile-Ife, Osun State for treatments and confirmed that the three other students shot during the ugly incident were receiving treatment at Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo.

The Vice President (Affairs) of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Timileyin Ayenuro alleged the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at the B Division to have fuelled the crisis and called for his immediate removal.

Ayenuro who said the DPO failed to manage the situation said the office did not also listen to the aggrieved students over plight of the accident victims, which escalated in to the clash between the security agents and the students, called for the immediate release of the arrested students and warned the police to stop harassing the students.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Femi Joseph, however said the students attacked the DPO, Mr Akande and other policemen on duty saying the DPO was attacked by the students and in a critical condition in a hospital.

Joseph explained that the students who stormed the police station descended on all the police officers on duty saying “they were not in the station to iron out things but to retaliate over the incident that happened earlier in the town”

He also alleged that the students vandalised the parked vehicles inside the station despite all the appeal from the DPO and said “the police vehicle that hit the students was not deliberate and the driver never abandoned the students because he immediately took the victims to hospital.”