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Ex-militants raped 12 UNIPORT students, says V-C

By George Onah
Port Harcourt—Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Don Baridam, said yesterday that no fewer than 12 undergraduates of the university were raped by ex-militants who went on rampage in the university town of Aluu, earlier this week.

This comes as Rivers State government has warned ex-militants against crime and vowed to deal with any law breaker, as the post-amnesty programme had no room for criminality.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Don Baridam, praised the state government for the concern it has shown towards the institution and its reassurance of adequate security measures.

Prof. Baridam said few weeks after the murder of the University’s Chief Security Officer and the violence perpetrated by the ex-militants, a state of fear had enveloped the institution, leading to workers absenting themselves from work for fear of their safety.

He said the ex-militants raped 12 girls, looted property and vandalized others, emphasizing that the solution to the problem remained the relocation of the camp.

He remarked that the school environment was where people from different parts of the world come to undertake academic programme and urged the state government to do something quickly to save the situation before the ex-militants indoctrinated the students’ population.

However, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi  yesterday, vowed to deal with anybody who may want to take the laws into his hands under the guise of  post-amnesty.

The governor, who gave the warning while addressing the authorities of the University of Port Harcourt at Choba over the recent violent demonstration of ex-militants on the school campus, said the havoc caused by the ex-militants on the institution was totally unacceptable and would not be tolerated by the state government.

Amaechi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Magnus Abe, explained that the amnesty period elapsed on October 4, 2009, and therefore raping, looting and destruction of people’s property, which are not covered by the amnesty programme, attract punishment.

He restated the state government’s commitment to the rule of law and assured that anybody who commits crime would face the wrath of the law because the state government would not allow a reoccurrence of the criminality that enveloped the state in the past.

Amaechi said the ex-militants were brought to the Aluu camp to be re-orientated and rehabilitated to make them better people but noted that under the circumstance it was wrong to allow them stay near the institution.

He used the opportunity to convey “the deep concern of the government and good people of Rivers State to the university community” over the incident and appealed to the victims to put themselves together while the victims of rape were to be given proper medical attention.

He explained that the federal government had been fully briefed on the issue, emphasizing that the non-payment of their allowance should not have attracted the violence they perpetrated on the school community.

The governor, therefore, urged the vice chancellor of the institution to reassure members of the school community that the incident would not re-occur and advised them to go back to work.


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