UNIZIK STUDENTS ON RAMPAGE IN AWKA
Students of Nnamdi Azikiwe University yesterday held Awka, the Anambra State capital, hostage as they protest the arrest, detention and manhandling of about 20 of their colleagues including the Students' Union Government President, Comrade Nelson Omenugha.
The SUG president was said to have been detained at the Central Police Station (CPS), Awka with some other students when they went to secure the release of some of their students that were arrested Thursday's night on their way home from a popular club house in Awka.
Between the hours of 11a.m. and 2.30p.m, the students, numbering over 200 barricaded the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, at Aroma Junction, Awka and made human and vehicular movements impossible.
Speaking to newsmen, the SUG Secretary, Comrade Okonkwo Israel, said that their president and students were manhandled and beaten up by the police and were still being held, hence their protest and demand for their immediate release.
He said: 'Some of our students were beaten up yesterday and from what I gathered when we came to rescue them, we were manhandled and that is why we are protesting to ensure that they are released from the Central Police Station (CPS) Awka.'
Corroborating him, a student who said he witnessed what happened, Emmanuel Nwaibe, said: 'We went there with the SUG president and as we were there one policeman pushed our president and slapped him and when we demanded for the release of our students, they started beating all of us.
'They dragged everybody into the cell and collected their GSM phones at the CPS Awka. They even locked up one of our security chief and we are not happy, our students' union president is in the police custody now. Since then they have continued to beat them, especially our president.'
Also speaking, the SUG Director of Sport, Comrade Okorie Ikechukwu noted: 'I was there when it happened; we entered there at CPS and the gate was locked and the SARS men started beating everybody, calling us kidnappers, between 15 and 20 students have been arrested so far and they have been dealing with them.'
The alleged police brutality was also extended to a female journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Miss Joy Mbachi, who was said to have been attacked on getting to the police station to inquire what was happening.
Mbachi, who narrated her ordeal said: 'They said I should bring my camera and I said you cannot take my camera; it is my instrument for work, so the DPO asked them to call me and he now explained some issues to me, which is for my own consumption.
'There is a small vehicle that they used and if you see the way they were pushing these students into the vehicle and beating them up, I wonder what has happened to rule of law and our fundamental human right.'
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka (ASP), said the command was investigating the incident, with a bid to have a quick settlement of the matter.
He added that the police have a legitimate and social responsibility of protecting the citizens, adding that Nigerian students are leaders of tomorrow that should be given adequate protection.