PROTESTS IN KOGI OVER LOCATION OF VARSITY
Dino Melaiye, member, representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, has said the decision of the Kogi State Government to site the Federal University of Technology in Lokoja was ill-conceived, alleging that it was meant to cause ethnic crisis in the state.
Dino, while addressing newsmen in Lokoja, said it was unwise for the state government to site a federal university in a mushroom secondary school, which could not boast of any structure.
He said the originally proposed site for the new university was the College of Agriculture, an extension of ABU, Zaria, which was located in Kabba, and stressed that Governor Ibrahim Idris was merely playing politics with the site of the university because the area was agitating for power shift.
He called on the Federal Government and the minister of Education to set a high-powered technical committee to ascertain the best area, which the university could be sited. There were protests on Tuesday across major towns in Okunland in the Western Senatorial District of Kogi State following the relocation of the newly approved Federal University of Technology to the state capital, which already had some tertiary institutions.
The protests, which started mildly among some youths in Aiyetoro-Gbedce, Isanlu and Iyarai, later led to frightening dimension when the youths later converged on Kabba, the senatorial headquarters of the district. The youths barricaded major roads leading to Kabba and set bonfires at strategic locations of the town, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secretariat in Kabba was vandalized with many posters and billboard bearing the logo of the PDP were also destroyed.
The youths who were chanting anti-state government slogans lambasted Governor Idris for playing ethnic cards by upstaging the original site of the university in Kabba. The youths alleged that Idris relocated the university to Lokoja to cause disaffection among the Okun people and the people of Lokoja to fine-tune the imposition of Isah Echocho as the next governor of the state.
Daily Sun gathered that the protests led to stampede and confusion as motorists had a hectic time before they could divert to other routes. Those who were affected in the stampede included Chief Rotimi Obaofin, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship aspirant and Yomi Awoniyi, member of the presidential project assessment committee, who all pleaded with the rampaging youths to allow peace to prevail.
While speaking with Daily Sun over the issue, Chief Obadofin wondered why College of Agriculture, Kabba, which had adequate facility and expanse of land, could be jettisoned and relocated to a crowded secondary school in Lokoja.
He said the protest was a demonstration that the people were fed up of the PDP and the barrage of lies been doled out by Governor Idris, saying 'this is the right time for power shift.'