By Dayo Johnson
AKURE—ARMED policemen from the Ondo State Police Command, yesterday, clashed with students of tertiary institutions in the state protesting hike in their tuition fees.
The students protest entered the second day as they again shut down Akure, the state capital disrupting both vehicular and commercial activities for hours.
Students from Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, AAUA, and Ondo State University of Science and Technology, OSUSTECH, Okitipupa took to the streets in Akure as early as 7:30am yesterday, insisting that their tuition fees be reduced.
Major streets, such as Oba Adesida, Oyemekun and Arakale were barricaded by the aggrieved students, who vowed that the protest would continue until Governor Rotimi Akeredolu intervened by reducing the hike in tuition fees.
Students tear gassed
Reports had it that police detectives were invited to halt the public disturbance.
To disperse the surging students, the police fired tear gas while the students in turn hurled stones at the policemen.
This continued for a while until the students took to their heels and the policemen cleared the barricaded roads to allow for free passage of vehicles.
Reacting to the clash, spokesman of the Police Command, Mr. Femi Joseph said that the students became violent during yesterday’s protest by smashing the windscreen of the vehicles and also damaging other valuables.
Joseph said: “Despite all these, they took to the streets and we have been managing the situation for days until they became violent and started destroying valuables.
“They went wild and caused a lot of damages. They attacked everything in sight including motorists and our men in uniform
“We cannot sit down and allow things to degenerate into an orgy of violence. So, we decided to disperse them.”
Students deny vandalisation
But in a swift react, the students union president of AAUA, Samuel Adesomoju denied that the students attacked or destroyed any valuables as alleged by the police.
Adesomoju accused the police of attacking innocent students that are expressing their constitutional right to protest injustice by government voted into power by the people of the state.
AAU varsity denies hike in fees
Meanwhile, the Management of Adekunle Ajasin University has denied any increase in tuition fees.
The institution’s acting Registrar, Opeoluwa Akinfemiwa said: “There is no new increase of school fees in AAUA, the current school fees in AAUA ranges between N80,000 and N150,000 and the students are allowed to pay twice that is between N40,000 and N75,000 per semester.”