Onungwe Obe in Yenagoa
Students of the Federal University Otuoke in Bayelsa State are in crisis with the youths of the community after the youths in the area publicly flogged a 300-level student of the institution for making a post on Facebook that they felt was offensive to their community.
The student, Obi Nezie, had allegedly described Otuoke, the university town, as a small community in a literary piece he posted on Facebook. But the youths considered that the description disparage their community. So they found him, tried him, found him guilty and flogged him severely.
Otuoke is also the hometown of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Nezie described the town thus: “Otuoke is a small place. A very small place! It might seem big, but it’s a small place.”
The action of the youths, THISDAY check revealed, is raising tension between students and the community youths.
The youths, it was gathered, had stormed Nezie’s hostel and dragged him to the community town hall where he was given a dose of their brutality.
A leader of the youths said on his social media page that the student defamed the community by referring to it as a small community infested with ninja mosquitoes and harsh weather.
“It has come to our notice that some individuals, including few students and former students of the Federal University Otuoke have taken it upon themselves to regularly dent and ridicule the image of the community and other respected personalities in the land of Otuoke on social media for no just cause,” the post said.
The Divisional Police Officer in Kolo Area Division was said to have intervened when the student was taken captive and had asked the youths to free the student. But they refused and went ahead to flog him.
The student union government of the university in its reaction, said it had discovered that Nezie’s post was just a fictional piece.
It however demanded an unqualified apology from the community youths. “The students’ leadership demands that an apology be tendered to the student for the physical abuse, abuse of his fundamental human right (freedom of expression/freedom to thought) as a full citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“That no students should henceforth be taken to the community town hall to face any panel without the inclusiveness or authorisation of the school management and the SUG.
“Also, that no students should henceforth be arrested by the police on the orders of the community without approval by the school management and SUG.
“Negligence to these demands will lead and charge the SUG to involve relevant agencies, authorities, organisations, and or bodies concerned with students welfare in conjunction with the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS),” it said.