By Egufe Yafugborhi & Akpokona Omafuaire
ACADEMIC activities at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources Effurun, FUPRE, were Friday grounded by angry students who shut the school gates following killing of their colleague, Jimoh Lateef Babatunde, a 400 level Computer Science student by gunmen.
Akpomedaye Philip, Governor of the isolated FUPRE Boys Hostel in Ugbomro where the late student resided told Vanguard that the victim had barely left the hostel at about 8pm on Thursday when two deafening gunshots near the hostel jostled students to the reality of the situation.
”It is another case of robbery. Babatunde should have been graduating in the next four months. We were together discussing sports when he excused us to fetch some items outside. Barely 30 minutes later, he was lying in a pool of his blood, his neck shattered by one of the two gunshots we heard not far from the hostel.
”We have been under ceaseless attacks and molestation from criminals within Ugbomro community. The other day it was another male student who survived a shot to the head.
The insecurity being faced by students in FUPRE has become unbearable and management is hardly concerned. Imagine a student brutally murdered and the CSO who has failed to secure the lives of students is passing blame, accusing harmless Babatunde of being a cultist. We don’t know who the next victim might be,” he said.
Armed soldiers and police men denied our reporters access tothe FUPRE campus as the protesting students took over the school gate calling immediate reinstatement of the suspended Dean of Student Affairs and the sack of the Chief Security Officer for failing to provide adequate security.
A top of official of the university who craved anonymity said, upon reaching the crime scene he immediately called the Divisional Police Officer of Ebrumede Police Station who came with his men and he made an entry before the corpse was taken to the Warri Central Hospital morgue.
Contacted, the school’s Public Affairs Officer, Boniface Onyedi said it would be hasty for management to make a statement now, adding that the Vice Chancellor and other top officials were busy trying to meet with the angry students and other concerned stakeholders.
At the PTI Conference Centre where the crucial meeting was to hold, leaders of the FUPRE Student Union Government told Vanguard that the meeting failed to hold because the management was too restrictive of students’ participation.
Ominigbo Edafe, immediate past Speaker of the SUG said: “What is important is that we stand by the same demand we have highlighted in previous meetings. Ugbomro community is too hostile for FUPRE students. We cannot live there anymore. The way out is for management to provide us alternative hostels where our safety will be guaranteed. We want school-built hostels right in the heart of FUPRE campus.
”Part of the challenges too is that the host communities say they are not benefiting enough from the school and hey vent their vengeful discontent on students who live around them. The bottom line is that if the critical issues and our demands are not addressed satisfactorily, no form of academic or management activity will be carried out in the school from this moment.”
Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Command, DSP Celestina Kalu (Mrs.) confirmed the death of the student, adding that the matter is under investigation.