Kaduna comes under tension over tuition fees hike, student killed, El-Rufai briefs Buhari - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Monday, 28 June 2021

Kaduna comes under tension over tuition fees hike, student killed, El-Rufai briefs Buhari

By Our Correspondent

Kaduna state Police Command Monday confirmed the killing of a student of College of Education Gidan Waya, Kafanchan by security operatives.
The tragic incident occurred during a protest by the students over the hike in tuition fees by Kaduna state government.

The incident occurred at about the time Governor Nasir el-Rufai was in Abuja briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the crisis generated by the rightsizing in the state’s civil service and the attendant labour crisis that trailed the exercise.

However, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given the governor a 21-day ultimatum to pacify Nigerian students on the increase in tuition fees ahead of its national congress slated for July 19, 2021.

Confirming the development in a statement by the state Police Public Relations Officer ASP Muhammad Jalige, the command said two other students, a military sector commander and one other person sustained injuries during the protest, adding that the injured students had been taken to the hospital. 

It said: “Today Monday, 28th June, 2021 at about 0800hrs the Command was informed of the protest and road blockade by the students of College of Education Gidan Waya, Kafanchan over the recent increase in tuition fee by the Kaduna state government.   
“On receipt of the information, the Command immediately dispatched operatives to restore normalcy. The contingent professionally and successfully dispersed the protesters and warned them not to embark on further protest and road blockade considering the existing warning against such action, issued by the Kaduna state Police Command a fortnight ago.

 “However, at about 0930hrs, information has it that the students converged again and blocked the Gidan Waya-Kafanchan Federal Highway and were becoming unruly and riotous. 

 “At a point the protesters blocked the convoy of a military sector Commander injuring him and one other. The situation resulted into a fracas where three protesters were injured in attempt to use minimal force to disperse the riotous students. The victims were taken to the hospital for medical attention but unfortunately one person died while receiving medical attention.

 “The Commissioner of Police Kaduna Command, CP UM Muri urged the students to embrace dialogue as it is best alternative way to express their grievances while assuring them of diligent investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the fracas that resulted to injuries to the students and the unfortunate loss of life.” 

 I’m not aware –Provost

In his reaction, Provost of the College, Professor Alexander Kure told journalists the school was on mid semester break, saying he was unaware of the students’ protest.

“The incident happened on the highway. I was told by the security that one student was killed and another injured. I offered an ambulance to take the corpse to the mortuary, and the other person that got injured to the hospital for treatment.

“The school was shut down yesterday for mid semester break and students are to resume next Monday. I don’t know why they were protesting. The school was closed and we heard there was a protest on the road, and I am not privy to happenings outside the school,” he added.

NANS warns  

Meanwhile, NANS President Sunday Asefon, who received the news of the student’s killing, registered the association’s angst over the incident.

He said all organs and sister bodies of NANS nationwide had been put on alert to relocate to Kaduna state to further press home their demand from the state government.

The students’ leader rejected in totality the recent spate of 1000% increment of school fees and other related fees in state-owned tertiary institutions in Kaduna state, saying, “We consider such increment at this time as insensitive, unreasonable, and unrealistic.

 “NANS also rejected the attempt by the Kaduna state government, the Kaduna State University, or any other tertiary institutions to force an undertaken on parents and guardian of the students to remain in perpetual silence irrespective of the unfavourable policies of the government. 

 “The governor should be ready to kill as many of us as he can through thugs and security and also build enough jail within the 21days that can accommodate thousands of Nigerian students.”

In a related development, Comrade Asefon has led a NANS’ delegation to a meeting with controversial Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, to discuss matters of insecurity and incessant abduction of students.

In a statement Monday, Asefon said the students’ body met Gumi on efforts to secure the release of Nigerian students in captivity.

The meeting came against the backdrop of some groups of students currently being held by bandits with little or no hope of return in sight.

A breakdown of the groups revealed 136 pupils of Saliu Tanko Islamic school in Tegina in Rafi local government area of Niger state; eight students of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna state; as well as some unspecified number of  students of Federal Government College (FGC) Yauri, Kebbi state, were at the time of this report still in the kidnappers’ den.

Of recent, Gumi has been the lead negotiator for the release of innocent Nigerians, including students abducted by the bandits.

Our meeting with Gumi’

Speaking on the meeting with the popular Islamic cleric, Asefon said: “I led the leadership of NANS to meet with Sheik Ahmed Gumi in Kaduna yesterday (Sunday). Our discussion centred on actions and efforts to ensure the safety and security of Nigerian students on all campuses and the release of innocent students in the captivity of their abductors.

“We extracted commitment on continuous dialogue for the release of students in captivity and all-round efforts to ensure schools become safer so that our students can be free from the fear and trauma of kidnapping.

“We must leave no stone unturned until our schools are free again. We will continue to engage and dialogue with stakeholders to ensure school safety.”