UMUDIKE, ABIA STATE – Staff members at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Umudike, Abia State, shared their harrowing experiences during the violent protest by students on Tuesday. The students were demonstrating against a tuition increase, but the school’s management claimed that the protest was infiltrated by troublemakers. Some staff members, however, alleged that they narrowly escaped the wrath of the angry mob by fleeing through a bush path behind the school premises.
One staff member, Igwe Azubuike Chizoba, and a lecturer, Mrs. Ngozi Olundu, recounted how they had to abandon their offices and escape through the bush towards Olokoro community to avoid being assaulted by the enraged students. Mrs. Olundu also reported that her colleagues in the office were brutally attacked by the mob after she had fled for safety.
School spokesperson Patrick Opara revealed that he was evacuated from the school premises while the “miscreants” were causing destruction. When observed on Wednesday morning, the campus was littered with debris from the destroyed property, including the largest examination hall, road median, Students Union Government office, electric poles, school chairs, library building, school field, part of the Access bank building, and school vehicles.
In response to the riot, stern-looking policemen were stationed in various areas of the university, and the school’s management announced the closure of the campus, insisting that the perpetrators of the violence were not genuine students but “miscreants” who disrupted a peaceful examination. A senior staff member revealed that the school is still assessing the extent of the damage caused by the students.
The riot underscores the escalating tensions between students and the administration over the issue of rising tuition costs. The university community is now grappling with the aftermath, while the authorities are working to identify and hold accountable those responsible for the destruction.