Protesting students of the Ondo State-owned tertiary institutions on Wednesday, clashed with the armed policemen from the state Command, while protesting over the hike in their tuition.
The students’ protest which entered its second day yesterday as they shut down the state capital, Akure, disrupting the easy flow of traffic and commercial activities for several hours.
Students from Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA) and Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) Okitipupa, took to the streets in the state capital as early as 7:30 am, vowing not to vacate the street until the tuition is reduced.
Some of the major streets within the Akure metropolis which include, Oba Adesida, Oyemekun, NEPA road, and Arakale were barricaded by the aggrieved students who said the protest would continue until the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu intervened by reducing the increment in their tuition fees.
Policemen from the state command were invited to curtail the students but the students refused to vacate the streets while they were dispersed for disturbing the peace of the public.
To disperse the rampaging students, the police fired tear gas at the students and they, in turn, threw missiles at the policemen, while the policemen cleared the barricaded roads to allow for free passage of vehicles.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph said that the students became violent destroying windscreen of the vehicles and other valuables.
Joseph said that the Commissioner of Police, Undie Adie had earlier met with the leadership of students on the need to be civil and show maturity in their approach.
He added that the state government and the authorities of the institutions have equally met with the students on the issue of their tuition fees.
“Despite all these, they took to the streets and we have been managing the situation for days until they became violent and started destroying valuables.
“They went wild and caused a lot of damages. They attacked everything in sight including motorists and our men in uniform.
“We cannot sit down and allow things to degenerate into an orgy of violence. So we decided to disperse them.
The student union president of AAUA, Samuel Adesomoju denied that the students attacked or destroyed any valuables as alleged by the police but accused the police of attacking innocent students that are expressing their constitutional right.
He vowed that “the protest would continue until Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu reduces the fees.
“We are telling Governor Akeredolu that our school fees must be reduced now because we will there no be resumption if the fees are not reduced.
“It is our right to have education but the governor is gradually taking it away from us with his policies.
“If the governor wants to generate revenue, he should look elsewhere not our Schools.
“We are sending him a clear message today that, we will not leave this road until he reduces the fees and he should not have in mind to open the schools without reduction. We are going to resist it.
Meanwhile, the Management of Adekunle Ajasin University has denied any increase in tuition fees.
The institution acting Registrar, Opeoluwa Akinfemiwa said: “There is no new increase of school fees in AAUA, the current school fees in AAUA range between N80,000 and N150,000 and the students are allowed to pay twice i.e. between N40,000 and N75,000 per semester.