ASUU Strike: How Military Men Allegedly Disrupted Students Protest in Ondo
Fidelis David in Akure
Some military men yesterday disrupted the protest embarked upon by joint students of public universities in Ondo State over the prolonged strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The angry students started the protest on Monday and barricaded the Akure-Ilesa Expressway in Akure, the state capital, preventing vehicular movements and caused traffic logjam for several hours.
According to an eyewitness, the students converged again yesterday and barricaded the road. However, after some hours of the protest, some military men in camouflage, who were traveling along the road in convoy, met the expressway barricaded by the protesters.
He said that the military men, after talking to the students to clear the road for them but following the students refusal, they shot into the air and dispersed the protesters, cleared the road and went on their way.
The eyewitness said: “When the soldiers got to the scene and met the road barricaded, some of them came down to speak with the students but they (students) refused to open the road.
“Suddenly, the soldiers shot sporadically into the air to disperse the protesters. Many people around the area also ran for safety. After that the soldiers cleared the road and their vehicles passed.”
The eyewitness, howeve,r noted that nobody was killed in the minor fracas. The identity of the military were not ascertained as at the time of filing this report but some said they were soldiers while some identified them as men of the Nigeria Air Force.
Some of the protesting students identified the military men as soldiers.
Meanwhile, after the security agents had left, students gathered themselves together and continued the protest.
One of the protesters, who identified himself as Ola, told journalists that the military men were deliberately sent to the scene to disrupt the protest.
He said: “We are holding our peaceful protest. We were not violent, the policemen were with us, the Amotekun people were also at the scene, we didn’t disturb them, they didn’t disturb us .
“Suddenly the soldiers just came and asked us to stop the protest. They were shooting us, they want to kill us. That is part of what Buhari is doing to Nigeria, we will not relent, let them come tomorrow and kill us. They are enemies of progress, they are enemies of Nigeria, God will punish them.”
Reacting, the Ondo State Police Public Relations, Mrs. Funmilayo Odunlami, confirmed the incident but said the she could not comment on the issue because it does not involve the men of the state police command.