ByÂ Tony Edike
ENUGUâ€”THE crisis in Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), yesterday took a new twist, as a first year Micro Biology student, Mr. Victor Mgbejiofor, was allegedly shot dead by the police during the studentsâ€™ demonstration in Enugu.
The student was said to hail from Achi in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Another student was also said to have sustained gunshot wounds in the clash between the security operatives and the students, but the State Police Command and Enugu State Government insisted, yesterday that no student was killed in the incident.
However, the police confirmed that 27 students of the university, including a female had been arrested for allegedly engaging in criminal activities during the demonstration.
On its part, the state government has expressed concern over the mayhem, which endangered the lives and property of innocent citizens,Â saying those behind the criminal act â€œwere mere hirelings sponsored by desperate politicians and few disgruntled elements to take advantage of the peaceful demonstration by students to unleash chaos on the society.â€
A statement by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chuks Ugwoke, also alleged plot by some evil-minded politicians and their agents to bring its efforts to ridicule and contempt, through an orchestrated campaign of violence and calumny against the people of the state and top officials of government, including Governor Sullivan Chime.
Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the State Command, Mr. Isaac Akimoyede, said while parading the arrested students at the police headquarters Enugu, yesterday that the violent protest by ESUT students later resulted to wanton destruction of property, including street lights, bus stop stands and modern dustbin stands provided by the state government.
One of the arrested students, Emmanuel Agbo, who identified himself as a final year student, said the students were only on a peaceful protest to express their anger over the renewed industrial action embarked upon by lecturers of the university barely one month after their five months strike was called off.
Agbo, who is the Secretary General, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, denied the involvement of the students in any criminal activities, saying that some hoodlums, who were present when the policemen fired canisters of teargas to disperse the students may have been responsible for the alleged destructions experienced during the protest.
He called on Governor Sullivan Chime to quickly intervene in the crisis in ESUT, adding that the students can no longer afford to remain at home because of incessant strikes by lecturers over non-payment of their entitlements by the government.