Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Chairman of National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Kogi State chapter, Mr. Usman Attaja, was allegedly shot while several students were injured by the Nigeria Police, Kogi State Command, during a peaceful protest by the students on the closure of tertiary institutions in the state.
All the tertiary institutions in the state have been closed down in the last four months as a result of face-off between the state government and the institutions on issue of salaries and other benefits.
The incident happened yesterday at Ganaja Junction, Lokoja, the state capital when the students converged around 7:15am with the heavy presence of security agencies, 14 Hulix vans and an Armoured tank.
Rubber bullet and tear gas were shot in to the air by the Police to dispatched the students as they scampered for their dear lives leaving four students unconscious at a private hospital.
The wounded Chairman of NANS, Attaja, while speaking with journalists, said it was unfortunate that the security agencies who granted them permission to congregate could turn around and make them victimes of abuse.
The bitter Attaja noted that the students were only carrying placards with inscriptions like â€œJAC and Government open our schoolsâ€, â€œenough is enough we cannot spend eight years for BScâ€, We are tired of sitting at homeâ€ but were surprised that the police shot at them.â€
He stressed that all they wanted was for the state government and the striking unions to reach an agreement and open all institutions that have been shut.
â€œImagine, as I speak with you, students are being tailed by the Police on the order of the commission of police, just because we are expressing our dissatisfaction over our present predicaments.
Some of the students are in hide out and cannot move freely in the state any longer,â€ Attaja said.
However, THISDAY observed that the security agents had taken over all the major roads in Lokoja to avoid a break down of law and order by the students.
Meanwhile the spoke person of Kogi State Police Command, Mr. William Ayah, while speaking on the development to journalists denied the shooting of any students.
According to him, they have deployed security agents in the town to avoid break down of law and order by the students adding that the police or any security agents in the state never shot at the students during the protest.