Wednesday Afternoon, 25th October, Medical students of the Benue State University College of Health Sciences, Makurdi, were attacked by thugs while they protested against the decayed infrastructures and lack of water on their campus.
The students had staged a peaceful protest all dressed in their medical coats, to the government house in Makurdi, to seek for interface with Governor Hyacinth Alia concerning the poor conditions of their school.
They however alleged that some of their member were attacked by some persons they identified as thugs at the gate of the government house.
The leader of the protesters and President, Students Union College of Health Science, Benue State University, (BSU), Makurdi, Nelson Iyorkaa, said they had peacefully matched to the Government House just to draw the attention of the governor to their challenges including lack of water, dilapidated lecture halls and hostel accommodation among others.
He said while the students were matching to the Government House gate, they were stopped by security on guard who urged them to send delegates to which they refused.
“Yes, we were chased out of government during our peaceful protest not by police but other thugs guarded by the men of the state community volunteer guards and a lot of students have it on record how we were chased by these thugs.
“It was while the police were discussing with us that the thugs in their numbers stormed the government house, carrying sticks and other cane and violently chased us away.
“But we retreated and insisted that we must see the governor himself and table their grievances. Thereafter, some Government functionaries came to address us too, asking us to go back to school, that the governor will come to the school and address us.
“Honestly, the issue of hostel accommodations and the level of infrastructural decay in our school currently is causing so much issues for us and that is why we decided to come and draw the attention of the visitor to the University so that something can be done. That is our aim, nothing more.
“It was so disheartening that after we made our presentation and about to leave as directed, then they came and attacked us.”
Recall that the Commissioner of Police, Benue State Command, CP. Bartholomew Onyeka, had earlier banned protest in the state following plan by some unidentified group of persons, saying such action would jot be allowed as it would sabotage efforts of the police to manage the fragile security situation that is currently being handled after the Otukpo bank robbery.
CP Onyeka said a protest at this time will avail hoodlums and other criminal minded persons an opportunity to cause mayhem and warned intending protesters to refrain from such actions as the environment in the state is not conducive for such.
Denying the allegations in a swift manner, a government official who didn’t want to be named told news agents that the students were not chased out of the government house.
According to him, the governor’s Chief of Staff and the Chief Press Secretary addressed the students and told them to go back to campus promising that their message would be adequately delivered to the Governor.
“Nobody chased the students who staged a peaceful protest to Government House, Makurdi.
“They were received and at the end, the students were asked to sit in a place, which they did, and Government entertained them with minerals. For the first time in Benue State that government would call out to entertain protesters. We bought them minerals and gave them transport fares back to school”, he said.