BY CHIDI NKWOPARA, OWERRI.
The Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, has been closed indefinitely by its management, following the violent demonstration carried out, Wednesday, which allegedly claimed the lives of two students.
Some angry students told Vanguard that they were demonstrating against what they called “the 50 percent increase in their school fees and introduction of acceptance fees by the school management”.
It was not very clear how the demonstration turned violent midway, resulting in the destruction of some valuable school properties, while workers were chased out of the premises and the institution’s gate locked.
The fate of some journalists, who went into the school compound to get first hand information from students on the crisis, remained uncertain at press time.
Addressing jourtnalists at the Naze/Aba Road Junction, the institution’s Public Relations Officer, PRO, Nze Obinna Okafor, denied knowledge that the school increased its fees.
“It is not true that management increased school fees. The Rector, Dr. Celestina Njoku, even slashed the fee regime she inherited on assumption of duty and equally banned sale of hand out to students”, Okafor said.
He traced the violent demonstration to the planned Students Union Government, SUG, election scheduled for tomorrow (Friday), stressing that out of the six students expected to stand for the presidential poll, four were disqualified.
“Management suspects that these disqualified four are responsible for galvanizing the students to take to the streets. They instigated their supporters”, Okafor said.
A detachment of mobile policemen, undercover security personnel and soldiers have been drafted to the Polytechnic to keep the peace and none of them was prepared to talk to newsmen.
Meanwhile, a two-paragraph public notice dated July 27, 2011 and signed by the Registrar, Mr. Matthew Aligbe, has directed all the students to “proceed on break with immediate effect”.
“The management of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, has directed all students of the institution to roceed on break with immediate effect. In the light of the above, students should vacate the campus before 11am today, July 27, 2011. Students are advised to comply strictly with the directive”, the Registrar stated.