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Saturday, 15 June 2013

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UNIUYO Riots: Akpabio Calls For Thorough Investigation

By: Adedokun Adetunji On: 09:05
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  • Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State has called for the establishment of a panel to probe the riot that erupted in the University Of Uyo (UNIUYO), resulting in property damage of millions of Naira, so as to bring the culprits to book.

    On Wednesday, students of the Department of Engineering staged a demonstration to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor to protest the hike in the transport fare from the institution's town campus to the permanent campus.  The peaceful protest however turned awry: two students were reported to have been killed; the offices of the Vice Chancellor and the Deputy Vice Chancellor were torched; and several cars and the security post were vandalised.

    The worst hit was the university's Examinations and Records Department, which was set ablaze.  The department maintains academic records, especially the transcripts of students who graduated from the defunct College of Education, Uyo; the defunct University of Cross River State; the present University of Uyo; and the Unified Matriculation Tertiary Examination.

    The governor, who was conducted round the scene of the incident on Thursday by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Comfort Ekpo, in the company of Deputy Vice Chancellors Paul Ekwere and Okon Ansa, described the riot as criminal, targeted and pre-meditated.

    He said that the miscreants took undue advantage of the disagreement at the institution, and that the students targeted the destruction of the school's academic records and policies, saying that it was a pre-planned arrangement by the miscreants who pretended to be students of the institution.

    "This act is a disaster,” Chief Akpabio declared.  “My observation here is that the destruction of the buildings was targeted at the 20-year-old school records and examination results.  It was a pre-planned arrangement by miscreants who are professional “students” using the opportunity of the peaceful protest to raze down buildings where the school's academic records were kept."

    Akpabio called on the Nigerian police to carry out a thorough investigation into the case, and suggested the involvement of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is the Visitor, as well as the Minister of Education, in getting to the root cause of the matter.

    The governor expressed his sympathies with the institution over the sad incident, and pledged the state government’s readiness to build and hand over two hostels to the university as soon as the institution allocates a site for the project.

    In her remarks, Professor Ekpo explained how the institution had decided on the increase of the transport fare from N100 to N200 from the town campus to the permanent campus after the students.

    The President of the Students' Union Government, Lucky Imo Inyang and the Vice President of National Association of Nigerian Students, Comrade Ubon Marcus, expressed their regrets about the incident, blaming it on miscreants who hijacked the peaceful demonstration by the students.