Pandemonium broke out early today in Owo local government area of Ondo State, as three students of the Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo (RUGIPO) were accidentally shot following a clash between the students and men of the police command in the town.
Also, scores of residents of Owo and vehicles numbering ten were vandalized during the clash.
Crisis broke out when a private car of a police officer allegedly hit two students in the town,with one of the Student rumoured to have died.
The students accused the police of abandoning the victims. This was said to have forced the students to embark on a protest to the Police Station, B Division at Otapete. But they were dispersed by the Police, with tear gas and sporadic shooting.
The students were accidentally hit by the bullets. Their action angered the students, who allegedly destroyed vehicles parked inside the station.
They later blocked the Owo/Akure expressway, which is opposite their school, thereby causing a gridlock. Resident of Owo were not spared in the unrest as they were prevented from moving out of the town.
Eyewitnesses disclosed that students were seen burning tyres at the main gate of the school, Fasawe and white House areas, which are mainly occupied by the students.
Three hours later, the Police later brought in an armored tank to clear the main road of Owo town, which was blocked by the rampaging students. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Femi Joseph alleged that the students attacked the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Akande and that he was presently on a critical condition.
Joseph said the students worsened the situation by attacking the police officers who were on duty when they stormed the station. He also alleged that the students vandalised the parked vehicles inside the station despite that the DPO was calling for calm. “The police vehicle that hit the students was not deliberately done; it was a total lie that the driver abandoned the students, because he immediately took the victims to a hospital and they are currently receiving treatment”, he said.The Polytechnic director of Information Protocol and Public Relations Unit (IPPPR) Mr. Olumide Olugosi said no student died during the protest. He disclosed that one of the injured students was referred to Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ife, Osun state for further evaluation and treatments. He added that three students that sustained gun shot injuries were stable and were receiving treatments at Federal Medical Centre, (FMC) Owo.
The Vice President (Affairs) of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mr. Timileyin Ayenuro called for the immediate removal of the Police Division B DPO. He accused the DPO of fueling the crisis, saying what the students were expecting from them was an apology over the matter since they did not know the present state of their colleagues.