A peaceful protest by aggrieved students from Niger Delta states at the headquarters of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in Benin City, Edo State capital was marred by echoes of gunshots allegedly fired by policemen at the gate.
In the ensuing bedlam, a 400 level Mass Communication student of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Miss Juliana Martins was reportedly shot in the leg by the trigger-happy policemen and rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
Angered by the refusal of the authorities at the oil firm to fulfill their promise of a laptop the end of a training workshop organized by the Petroleum Industrial Act (PIA), an event organized by the NPDC, the students had taken to the streets to kick against the action.
Speaking with journalists at the premises of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Benin, the spokesman of Niger Delta Student’s Union Government and coordinator PIA workshop, Mr. Romeo Emieye alleged that they were at the company’s gate the previous day but were told to come back the next day.
Emieye listed other grievances as transportation and a cash incentive for about 50 persons, noting that the amount that was agreed upon was not honoured while they were given empty bags in place of laptops.
According to the coordinator, they were at the gate demonstrating peacefully when a policeman attached to the company let out a volley of shots in anger despite warnings from his superior colleague, hitting Juliana on her leg.
The spokesman demanded that the police should sanction the trigger happy cop to serve as a deterrent to other policemen.
Speaking on his mobile phone, the Edo State Police spokesman, Mr. Bello Kontongs, said he was at the university town of Okada, Ovia North-East local government area, and was yet to be briefed about the incident.
Kontongs, a superintendent of police however promised to find out the full details as soon as he gets back to base in Benin.
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