Fear Grips Students, Parents, Mgt as Gunmen Invade CUSTECH Campus Abduct Many in Kogi

Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

Palpable fear gripped the students, parents and management of the Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH) as gunmen invaded the campus in Osara in Kogi State and abducted several students.
Owing to the unfortunate development, President of the Senate, National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Babatunde Afeez, urged the federal government to beef up security around all tertiary institutions in the country.
THISDAY gathered that both students and staff of the institution were abducted by the gunmen on Thursday night.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdulrahaman Salawu, confirmed the incident in a statement made available to the journalists in Lokoja, yesterday.
“This is to inform the general public that Confluence University of Science and Technology (CUSTECH), Osara experienced an unfortunate security incidence on Thursday 9th May, 2024 around 8:23p.m.
“Some of our students who were gathered for tutorials ahead of their First Semester Examinations scheduled to commence on Monday 13th May, 2024 were abducted. The exact number of our students involved is being ascertained at the moment.
“His Excellency, Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo, the Executive Governor of Kogi State and the State Security Adviser, Cmdr. Jerry Omodara as well as the Vice Chancellor, Engr. Prof. Abdulrahaman Asipita Salawu together with the Management Staff swung into action immediately they got wind of the unpleasant news by deploying members of various security agencies on rescue mission.
The Kogi State government disclosed that the situation was under control in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo.
“The Kogi State Government received a very disturbing news at about 21.00 hrs, Thursday, 9th May, 2024 that the Confluence University of Science and Technology was invaded by kidnappers.
“Immediately the report was received, the Kogi State Governor, His Excellency Alh. Ahmed Usman Ododo activated the security architecture to track the kidnappers and ensure the abducted students are rescued and the abductors apprehended.
“Hundreds of local hunters who understand the terrain
as well as the conventional security agents are currently combing the area to ensure the safe rescue of the abducted students who were kidnapped in the classrooms. So far, nine students have been reported missing.

“We wish to assure students, parents and the entire people of Kogi State that the government is on top of the situation and all the abducted students will be rescued alive. Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo has also directed that security agents be positioned around all tertiary institutions in the state.

“We wish to commend the local hunters and other security agents who rose stoutly to engage the kidnappers. Their gallantry and dedication ensured that the kidnappers did not have a field day which would have been more calamitous. The state government will spare nothing in ensuring that all the students abducted are safely rescued and reunited with their families. We won’t submit to terror. We shall prevail,” the commissioner stated.

Meanwhile, NANS President, Afeez, has urged the federal government to beef up security around all tertiary institutions in the country.
He said this in a communique issued at the end of the First President Senate inaugural meeting held at the Kogi State Polytechnic in Lokoja yesterday .
He lamented the spate of banditry and kidnapping around the institutions across the country, saying it is unacceptable and called on the governments at levels to provide adequate security at federal, states and local government areas in the country.

The NANS also passed a vote of confidence on Governor Ododo for his strides in education.

The student union body also called on the Management of the University of Benin to restore Student Union activities in the institution, while urging other institutions to conduct elections as soon as possible.
The NANS also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop further infringement on the fundamental human rights of the immediate past Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello.
The union noted that though the EFCC has the right to invite the former governor, stressing that such invitation must be within the law and not harassment that tends to look as if it was political persecution.

The students union also decried the sudden increase in school fees, warning the vice chancellor of universities who have increased school fees to revert to the status quo.

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